Today, I want to talk to you about outgrowing your growth capability.
Now there’s no question.
We’ve seen a run here in the last 18 to 24 months of contractors in the home service space and service businesses.
Many markets and verticals have massive growth.
Private equity, you know, Wall Street has come to Main Street.
We haven’t seen anything like this in probably 15 years, or maybe even a little bit longer than that.
We’ve seen a couple of roll-ups in my career, maybe three now, and as these different things happen, there’s the scalability that takes place.
There’s some massive growth that takes place.
And my responsibility is to help you think about your thinking as a driven leader.
Today I want you to think about where you could be outgrowing your own growth capabilities and how we build growth capabilities in business.
Speed And Scale
When I say growth capabilities, I’m talking about yourself as a leader.
I’m talking about your team of leaders that you have at the business.
I’m talking about your technology, your training, your coaching, your communication, and a lot of things that go into what our own growth capability is.
Think about or write down: speed and scale.
Those are two words that are being thrown around a lot, and obviously, with different possible tax laws changing and Wall Street wanting to gobble up as much as possible.
There’s been a speed of acquisition like we may have never seen before.
There’s scalability. That is definitely having some massive short-term growth, and time will tell if it’s going to be long-term or not.
If there’s not massive communication training and indoctrination into cultures, there will be some challenge and pain as well as a massive opportunity that follows as some of these different types of things shake out.
I want you to think about speed and scale, whether you sold, whether you work with private equity, or whether you’re a principal at a private equity firm.
Think about speed and scale what’s right for you.
I’m fortunate enough to work with a couple of million-dollar businesses that have a revenue turnover of a couple million, as well as friends that do half a billion dollars in revenue.
And I’m able to share experience and coach and different perspectives around both of those types and sizes of business.
Keep It Personal
What I know is that speed and scale are very intimate speed, and scale is very personal.
When we give up what it is to us and try to do it for something other than our own desire for growth because our careers and our businesses are simply creative expressions for us, your business becomes personal.
Those of you that are entrepreneurs reading this, you became an entrepreneur as a creative expression.
And now, how you’re having success is really how well you’re learning the lessons and what you’re willing to change.
You became a leader for a reason, and that’s because you want to share this.
Now what happens is, there are market pressures, there are financial pressures, there are supply chain pressures, and there are all kinds of different pressures which influence and impact the speed and scale of growth.
I want you to think about this and be honorable to yourself.
It’s OK if you want to go really fast.
And it’s OK if you want to grow at 10%.
It’s not about that.
I’ve talked about different levels of growth and different speeds of growth.
I want you to be mindful that you’re honoring your truth and your team’s capability before you lay on more.
The Common Mistake With Growth Capability
What I see in acquisitions are there are very fragmented acquisitions happening that are bringing teams together that aren’t used to playing the game together.
That creates is a lack of a growth capability.
When you think about your own team, you know how long you’ve been playing the game together, how focused you are on growth, and how intentional you are on growth.
You know what it means to grow is that top-line focus is that bottom-line focus.
Is that stock price? Is that profit-sharing?
What does that mean to you?
It means different things because what’s fascinating is some companies are chasing the next turn, the private equity game where you sell the entire operation every 5-7 years.
There’s a speed and urgency that doesn’t generally exist for the smaller, closely held family business that’s building a legacy that plans to be around for the next 15 or 20 years.
There are two completely different methods of operation.
One’s not right.
And the other one’s not wrong.
One’s not good, or one’s not bad.
Sometimes there’s some fallout that creates pain for people, but people sign up for paying a lot of times as well.
I want to think about your own situation because we see a lot of scale that doesn’t have growth capacity and capability behind it.
Learn From Others Mistakes
We’re seeing companies really outgrowing their growth capability.
As an operator, a leader in the home service space, change is very challenging for most people. So you may be loving it.
You may be engaged.
You may be diving in and going deeper and deeper and want to go faster and faster.
But is every else on your team on board?
Do you have the systems and training in place to handle this growth?
That creates a lot of complexity for the people that have to go get that growth done.
Now I’m not saying you don’t do it and don’t go as fast as you want to go.
I’m saying understand what the capability of the team is of executing what it is you’re asking to be executed, right?
I personally live by a kind of a mantra or a belief system where I can accomplish anything in the world, as long as I only have to play in unique ability.
People laugh at me, and people call me crazy for that, but I’m also building and continue to build companies and structures and teams that are in their own unique ability because I want to be in my unique ability.
I understand the value of it, but what that means is sometimes we can’t go as fast as we might want to go.
I can see double growth in the company in the next three months, but our capability may not be there.
Think this through in your role here as a leader in the space, as a coach in the space.
My goal is simply to challenge you to think about your thinking.
What Is The Right Speed And Scale For Your Growth Capability?
I want you to think about that speed and scale and what’s right for you and what’s right for your team.
It can be right for your team and not right for you.
You’ve got to have a team that wants to grow.
You can’t have an abundance-minded leadership team and a scarcity-minded, frontline team. Be mindful of what these things are and understand change is challenging for people, but your responsibility is to honor that and then help people guide through that.
I really want you to start honoring your own role and your own capability of being able to leverage and honor other people’s behaviors.
One of the number one skills of a leader is being able to leverage the skill of other team members.
By the way, you may want to check out this article where I talk about team members you can’t live without.
The top leaders in the world understand how to leverage other things.
It’s about really leaning into who you are and pushing your team to lean into who they are on an individual level.
My Client’s Experience
I had a client call me recently, and they said:
“Man, I’m just, I’m having a rough week. I’m in a funk. I’m working through it. But I just wanted to touch base.”
He’s one of my life architecture clients.
I do some deep-level work that’s not specifically around the business, but it’s around him as a leader in his own thinking process.
When he hits a wall, he gives me a buzz when things get challenging, or he feels like things are falling through the cracks.
Do you ever feel like this? I’m sure you’re nodding your heads as you read this.
Most people attach pain to growing.
So they call it growing pains, but as part of the growth cycle, right?
It’s just something you want to be aware of and mindful of.
My client was talking to me about how he was struggling with how they were opening a new location and how they had all this other stuff going on.
He felt unsure about it.
So I turned it back on him.
“What are some things that you are pretending you don’t know yet that might show up in that new location?
I like asking questions for people to think.
People have answers that need the right question to unlock them.
The same is true with you.
I don’t have the answer.
I know this business inside and out and the human brain inside and out.
My friends, I know the subconscious mind inside and out, but you know your path and your walk and your business and your team.
So this is about you.
It’s not about me.
Building Growth Capability “Secrets”
Here’s the big truth about scaling and growth capability.
We’re in the human skill business; we’re in the human development business.
We can only scale our businesses at a rate that human skill can keep up with.
When you see some really fast growth for short periods, and then they retract back to a smaller area, it’s because anybody can make up a marketing budget and can add a few trucks and get a pop. But if you don’t get up leadership capability and capacity for growth, then you’re not going to be able to sustain the growth.
It’s a very fluid thing.
For you, whether you’re experiencing rapid growth, whether you’re experiencing regular growth, or a kind of slow and moving along very methodically, anything is fine.
The key is in the people.
Here’s your homework then.
Ask yourselves these questions about whatever growth you want or already have or are moving past:
- Do I have enough people to manage the growth?
- Are my systems set up to allow my team to meet their personal strengths?
- Is my team on board?
- Does the training/support/tools I’ve provided give enough for the people to execute the growth and scale?
- Am I growing at a speed too fast for my team to handle?
- Am I growing at a scale too large for my team to handle?
Keep these in mind, and you’ll find that answering them and preparing is the real key to long-term, sustainable growth.
Now go and make it a better-than-fantastic day!