Growth is the elixir of opportunity and prosperity in business, and never more so that in the technology-focused businesses of today. Growth provides the opportunity to develop new leaders, embrace new capabilities and drive energy in a dynamic and changing environment. Properly managed growth is also the fuel for positive operational change, enabling scaling efficiencies, improved competitiveness, and broadened investment options.
The Indellient team has enjoyed the opportunities presented by growth for the last several years, with recognition on The Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, and Deloitte fast-growing businesses lists. What were the keys to our growth as a services business? The answer starts with our people.
People and Growth
There are several important drivers for growing a business but the most critical factors surrounding growth of a services business are centered on the team itself. There are five critical factors impacting service teams that form a team growth cycle.
A clear business strategy acts as a compass for growth-enabling activities. In a service business, team identity should be aligned with that strategy, requiring team members to understand:
- The organization’s value proposition to its clients
- Team member contributions that accentuate that value
- How the organization should be viewed by clients
- What the company does and does not aspire to be
- How individual objectives align with the company’s future
Understanding what the company wants to be in the future and the team it will require provides the foundation for building, leading and inspiring your team.
Team Building & Selection
Working towards a greater future requires the careful selection of team members who embrace and support that growth and vision. While many recruitment processes focus on skill measurement processes, one-dimensional approaches do not provide optimal results. When selecting the right team members to drive the future of the organization, consider:
- Skills for targeted career paths
- Values shared with future colleagues
- Cultural fit
- Potential for learning and development
Candidates who fare well by all considerations are preferred.
Business growth presents personal and professional development opportunities that motivate team members to work towards the desired growth. Strong development plans are consistent with the objectives of the business and are supported throughout the organization. A good development program should include:
- Structured and activity-based training
- Measurement to provide gratifying feedback
- Mentoring to leverage internal knowledge and build team cohesion
- Opportunities for future leaders to facilitate colleague development
As your organization grows, so too does the appetite for leadership bandwidth. External recruitment can be necessary to fill some roles, but leadership development from within increases leadership qualities throughout the organization. Key elements of leadership development include:
- Demonstrated trust in team members stepping up
- Recognition for demonstrations of commitment
- Discouragement of hierarchical thinking
- Mentorship efforts aligned with organization objectives
- Encouragement of cultural leadership
While there is no “right” culture, there are specific cultural ingredients that are core to growth. A culture that optimally supports growth of a services business comprises:
- Universal belief in team strengths and delivery capabilities
- Passion for excellence in customer service and experience
- Collaborative instincts that amplify team strengths
- Emotionally intelligent team members
While developing a strong identity, leadership and culture are not the only critical success factors for the growth of a service business, but they are the most important and form a powerful foundation into which other elements can be injected.
Continuously growing a talented team aligned with the values of the company and nurturing the future leaders out of that team does require focus, energy and commitment by the existing leadership team to be successful. The results will however overshadow the cost and create the perfect environment for years of successful service enterprise growth.