Verne Harnish has identified four common growing pains for Fast Growth companies at various stages of development: generating revenue, amassing cash, maintaining gross margins and predicting profitability. Which challenge is weighing most heavily on your company now and how are you working to overcome it?
Predicting profitability!!! We have done a historically poor job of budgeting and planning. Our solution will be to make the success of the finance and accounting departments a major goal this year. We have started by bringing in several new players: a controller and a CFO. Both are new. I won’t know results for a few months?
Verne Harnish has identified three major stumbling blocks for Fast Growth companies: inability of leadership to grow, inability of management and engineers to assemble systems and structures to handle new complexities and growth, inability of the company to position itself within a larger market containing harsh competitors and in-depth strategies. Has your company run up against any of these stumbling blocks? If so, how are you working to resolve the problem?
The inability of leadership to grow is probably our biggest current challenge. I want, need, and expect our managers to be able to grow as fast as the company. This has stretched me and the entire executive staff to the limits. To rise to this challenge we have really increased the amount of management training that we are doing for our executive staff. We have scheduled regular planning sessions and retreats with all key players.
What benefits have you reaped from identifying your company’s core principles early in the game and sticking close to those principles? What do you do to keep those core objectives at the forefront of your business strategies?
There have always been those “tough” questions that nobody else in the company wants to ask. When a difficult decision has fallen to me, I have really been able to reflect on our core principles and find the right answer. It may not be an easy, or pleasant choice, but I can be confident that I will be in alignment with who we are.
Do your employees engage in a regular huddle session where they can exchange progress reports and questions? If so, what are the benefits and challenges of such a meeting?
Yes ABSOLUTELY!!! Each store, and each business department has a brief morning meeting. All executive managers meet weekly for a 2-3 hr meeting. All middle managers meet monthly for a half-day meeting. Benefits are keeping everyone moving in the same direction, and just getting to see and hear form the rest of the team. This helps everyone to feel involved in what’s going on.
Challenges are keeping the meetings from getting sidetracked on something stupid or irrelevant, and keeping them moving. Everyone wants to have some “talk time” and voice their own opinion.
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