2. Growing

This strategy aims to keep the organization in phase two. The goal is to stay alert, fresh and innovative, and not to give in to an almost ‘natural’ tendency to streamline and control.

The next director describes such a situation:

“Our firm has maintained the pace of growth. We’ve managed a few good acquisitions, and we are now active in six countries. We plan to selectively broaden our scope in the coming years. Our local business units are fairly autonomous, and have a good entrepreneurial spirit: “Think global, act local”

is our motto, and that is how I plan to keep it.

We could still further profit from our scale, cultivate more synergies. A few of my guys at the main

office are eager to develop their ideas: a strategic platform for innovation, European Quality Certificate, the latest in financial audits, what have you. Still, I don’t know…

“What are you worried about?”

“I would not want to lose momentum in those vital parts where our turnover is generated. Locally my mangers feel responsible for their own businesses. The conglomerate should support them, but not take over the show. And certainly not frustrate them with endless demands for information and lengthy reports.”

“But then again, you yourself appointed these people..”

“Yes I did, and each of them is claiming more manpower. Before you know it, head office is getting fat, as are the local staff divisions. What do you think, shall I run another benchmark on overhead?” 

Here the move indicated is to regain and retain the strategic entrepreneurship of phase two by installing dynamic equilibrium, maximizing vitality and profitability.

Of course, there are always certain areas where it is important or even necessary to install procedures, but this must be done selectively. The desire to control must be kept in check, or it will spread through the organization and mother the spontaneous alacrity.

The overall climate needs to concentrate on keeping smart, hungry and resilient. Entrepreneurship is the leading value, not only in words but in actions as well.

In the business strategy we see this built into challenging goals, strong investment in innovation, conquering new markets and experimenting with market strategies.

In the structure, leadership is alert to avoid bureaucracy: staff and overhead are kept to a minimum (‘the HQ should fit into one bus’). Direction is concerned with reaching output goals and keeps management reporting simple – in this respect, “good enough” is the best way.

Management must be kept lean, and line must remain dominant above staff influence. Employees and management are regularly rotated and renewed to insure new impulses and avoid developing set behavior.