One time I received a call from a very small services company that said they needed some help. As I talked to the owner / CEO (let’s call them Frank) I realized this person was not your typical small business owner, but a true serial entrepreneur who knew how to grow companies.
It turns out that this entrepreneur had been part of numerous companies with great growth stories. One of the companies Frank started was acquired and he took a VP position with the acquiring company. Frank helped guide the acquiring company through rapid growth and to a sale for over a billion dollars.
By the time he and I met, Frank was closer to the end of his career than the beginning. At this blueprint he had a plan for growing companies. He shared his vision with the management team and then the whole company in a written document. Each week Frank would come in to the office for a few hours and review the financials with me. Then we would talk about his plan to identify talent, recruit people, interview candidates, hire employees, train associates and motivate team members. As a result, the company grew by 60% to 70% per year for four years in a row!
Unfortunately, Frank became seriously and permanently ill and never came back into work again. Frank’s spouse (let’s call him/her Janet) – a pleasant and intelligent person – took over as CEO. However, Janet had a different perspective on management and growing companies. Management offered to buy the company, but no agreement was reached. The tone around the office changed quickly and managers started to leave. As a result of these changes, the company lost sales and declined faster than it had grown.
My perspective on the entire adventure is that leadership is the single most important in growing a company. Frank led companies by identifying, recruiting, hiring, training and (critically) motivating talented individuals. Read more of my blogs for more about motivating talented teams.
Have you seen a situation where leadership has enabled the growth of a company? Or have you seen a situation where leadership limited the growth of a business?