4 Rules for Ambitious Companies to Play By for Faster Growth in 2022
In my many years of working for and leading fast-growing companies, one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is this: There are different rules and operating models that companies need to embrace when they are in growth mode. In order to scale, end goals are important—they obviously drive the entire process. But, to position your organization for steady and sustainable growth, you must have certain elements in place. All too often companies that are struggling have gotten distracted and, over time, moved away from these fundamentals. Read on to learn how you can avoid making this mistake.
Here are the top four things all businesses should do to create a growth-minded culture that takes you to new heights in 2022 and beyond.
1. Take care of your people and lead with empathy.
Taking care of your employees should be a top priority in all organizations, but how you support your people is especially important when you’re in growth mode. Working for a growing company has many benefits for employees that are important to emphasize—opportunities for promotion, experience hiring and developing larger teams, and the excitement of acquiring new customers, to name a few—but of course there are also challenges. Your teams are working hard to produce great results for your current customers while also trying to bring on new buyers and provide them with a positive and meaningful experience with your brand. It’s stressful at times, and as leaders, it’s our job to be planning three steps ahead to make growth easier on our people.
When your business is in a phase of rapid expansion, taking care of your people means being aggressive with hiring and building a more flexible resource model so that you can absorb new work and take advantage of new opportunities without burning out your team. Arm yourself with the right data to forecast your growth and keep track of your time to hire so that you can be ready for the next wave of work. Don’t be afraid to take some calculated risks. Our current environment is particularly conducive to people switching jobs for various reasons. This turnover creates stress. Communicating an active hiring strategy to your employees and clients will build confidence. Most importantly, lead with empathy. Mistakes are inevitable when you are growing fast, and fostering a culture of support and understanding makes it easier for your people to be great.
2. Create an idea-friendly culture that allows for smart risks and good mistakes.
Strong culture doesn’t just happen; it’s built and maintained with intention. Establish your company as a place where people aren’t afraid to come up with bold ideas—and be told no. Yours should be an environment where team members challenge norms and traditional ways of doing things. A place where employees are empowered to generate new thinking and are comfortable approaching peers and leaders to pitch these ideas. That’s not to say we should be throwing darts; set a clear expectation that all proposals should be part of a broader plan that is based, in part, on data (see rule 4 below) rather than intuition alone. The best marketers get ahead through trial and error, continually testing different tactics, channels, and platforms to determine what’s resonating with audiences and what’s not. Create a workplace that enables risk and “good mistakes” so that people aren’t afraid to try something they’ve researched and thought through. Failures reveal important lessons that help us approach future work in a more thoughtful way.
3. Hire "A-Players" and then get out of their way.
Every leader knows that building a team of “A-Players" is critical to success. I can’t stress this enough: When it comes to growing your team, don’t settle or compromise. There are real consequences when individuals don’t work out. It can be tempting to extend offers to “good enough” candidates when your company is growing quickly or specific positions sit vacant (and other team members have absorbed the work). Stay committed to excellence.
Great leaders believe in the people they hire, giving them full ownership and space to execute. As a result, employees are more invested, productive, and do higher-quality work. Generally speaking, in order for a company to scale from small to large, leaders need to let go and not be involved in every decision. Surrounding yourself with capable people you trust allows you to give up control—and focus on the most important tasks.
4. Ground your decisions in the right data.
Data is big business: companies across the globe are investing millions of dollars in technology and amassing data that offers a closer look at everything from employee productivity to website activity. And that’s because they recognize the value of using data to make decisions, especially high-stakes ones. There’s no shortage of data available. Going forward, the challenge will be deciding what data matters to your company and how to gather and analyze it.
In the marketing world, the reliance on data is obvious—we constantly analyze how different campaigns are performing. At Rise, we’ve built technology to act on real-time results to make quick decisions and put our clients’ budgets to better use, like ramping up certain campaigns on certain platforms and abandoning others. No matter your industry, all organizations (and all employees for that matter) should strive to make decisions supported by numbers and facts. Experience and instinct are important levers, but combining them with data will ensure your decisions are objective and unbiased. Make your data cleanliness and analysis a priority, and it will pay dividends down the road.
It’s an exciting time—looking ahead at what will hopefully be an even better year. As you set goals, be ambitious, leave room for some risks, and don’t lose sight of taking care of your people.
Communication is a two-way street: Message me so we can keep the conversation going. What are your plans for 2022? Are there other elements you think are essential for growth? I’d love to hear from you.