7 Keys To Growth


Having the right seats filled with the right people is fundamental for business success and growth. Most entrepreneurial organizations are lacking the strategic talent they need. This is partly due to the difficulty of finding superior talent, but mostly due to not knowing what to look for, or how to develop existing talent. If you want to improve your business performance, you need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your talent, increase the value that your team adds to the business strategy, and ensure that your talent is a key part of your competitive advantage.

What do you look for and how do you assess it? Through our research we’ve found that successful companies first define how they compete and what their strategic priorities are. This means that if a company focuses on being a product leader, then their product development talent should be their best talent. With the strategic priorities defined the talent development process begins.

We’ve defined that a successful talent development program focuses on these four key areas:

  1. Skills – are the skills needed for the job? Technical, problem solving, etc.
  2. Knowledge – what knowledge is needed? Industry, customers, strategy, products, services
  3. Behaviors – what behaviors are required? Leadership, decision making, values, ethics
  4. Results – what results are expected? Revenues, profits, new products, new processes

Questions to ask yourself to know if you have the Right People in the Right Seats

  • Have you defined how you compete and your strategic priorities?
  • Do the skills of the people in your key seats support your strategic priorities?
  • Is your leadership team the team to grow your business or just maintain it?
  • Do your key people have all four of the right characteristics listed above?

As with all our services, we have a methodical approach to evaluating if your company has the Right People in the Right Seats It’s called the Strategic Talent Assessment.


Effective Growth Planning – the development of an effective growth planning process which delivers tangible strategies and tactics to grow the business, supported by the alignment of the leadership team.

  • If we asked your leadership team to define the goals for the business, would we receive unanimous, consistent and specific answers?
  • Have you prioritized your company’s method of competition? Product leadership, Customer Intimacy and Operational excellence are the only three options. Which one do you want to be great at? Which two do you want to be good at?
  • Do you have a analytical process for developing your plan? One that includes tools such as a SWOT analysis, Ansoff’s Matrix, Balance Scorecard?
  • Do you have less than 7 tangible goals to accomplish in the next year or two? (A goal is not tangible unless numbers are attached to it.)
  • Have you quantified how much of your growth is going to be through new customers or existing customers? New products or services or existing products or services?
  • Do you review your goals at least quarterly with your team?


Advanced Customer Management – providing customized solutions to segmented customer groups through unique delivery channels. Do you have specific customer niches or groups to whom you target the sale of your products or services? For example, women’s religious retirement communities are a niche. Retirement communities aren’t.

  • Do you provide customized solutions to these niches or the same solution to most customer groups?
  • Do you use the same sales or delivery channel to service each unique niche group?


Robust Processes – defining and developing effective and efficient core business processes

  • Would your leadership team agree upon the core business processes of your business? (Most don’t.)
  • Would your leadership team agree upon the amount of flexibility or efficiency these key processes should have?
  • Have you specifically improved at least half of your key processes in the past two years?
  • Would you define your key processes as ‘best in class” or best practice? How do you know?


Differentiated Products and Services – providing superior, innovative and differentiated products and services

  • Would your customers define your products or services as innovative or unique?
  • Do you have a ‘world class’ new product or service development process?
  • Do the products or services you’ve introduced in the last 3 years account for at least 50% of revenues?


Strong Core Values – developing accepted fundamental principles, standards or beliefs that motivate the organization and drive decision making.

  • Do you have a documented set of core values, mission statement, core principals or beliefs?
  • Would your leadership team unanimously define the company’s core values?
  • Would a survey of your employees indicate that you are really living your values?


Ability to Execute – The ability to execute is a fundamental capability that all organizations need as a competency. Yet, most organizations have not developed tangible strategic objectives or a process or culture of accountability and performance. Without the ability to execute, a company will not grow or improve its performance.

Through our research we’ve identified the four areas a company needs to focus on to improve its ability to execute. They are:


  • Define tangible objectives: many companies do not have tangible objectives. Tangible means you can measure success – with numbers.
  • Balance objectives with resources: many companies have too many objectives to accomplish based on the limited resources available. Successful companies complete a smaller list of objectives then add to them.
  • Link incentives to performance: people are motivated by incentives that drive them to accomplish objectives. Successful companies link accomplishing objectives to incentives.
  • Develop a culture of accountability: successful companies are extremely disciplined in focusing on the objective, measuring progress and holding people accountable. If a company struggles with execution this is most often where the problem lies.



Questions to ask yourself to see how well your company executes.


  • Are there a discrete number of objectives with tangible results defined?
  • What percent of the objectives defined last year did you accomplish? (don’t exclude the objectives which weren’t accomplished because ‘things changed’.)
  • Do you find the company starting off well yet ‘losing steam’ later in the year?
  • Are there concrete incentives for accomplishing objectives?
  • Would your employees score the company high on its ability to execute?



For executives who would like to strategically improve his or her organization’s ability to execute, the Strategy Execution Evaluation will explain where your gaps are and how to focus your resources to execute better.

If you have doubts about your answers to any of the questions above, review our Strategic Growth Analysis. It will tell you how aligned your leadership team is to the 7 Keys to Growth and how to become more aligned and focused to accelerate your growth.