Primary Performance Metric

Primary Performance Metric – The First CEO Decision to Make

The 2011 Oscar-nominated sports movie Moneyball shows how focusing on the primary performance metric is important. The plot describes a quest by the low-budget Oakland Athletics for the secret of success in baseball. Despite being one of the poorest teams, the Oakland As became one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball using a different approach.

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Structure - man drawing

Five factors in getting organisational design right

For many companies the days of tweaking the organisational structure chart are over. To keep up with changes in direction, CEOs are making more dramatic changes and adapting the design of their company more frequently in order to focus key resources on top priorities, improve decision making or accountability. Whatever the reason, organisational change requires tough tradeoffs, between focus and flexibility, control and delegation, coordination and autonomy.

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Implement ‘Right Process at Right Time’ to Break through Growth Glass Ceiling

A huge number of companies start out well – they've an interesting product, which finds buyers and an enthusiastic team. There is a big market opportunity. Everything looks rosy. There is an air of optimism. 

Most of these companies have charismatic capable founders with passion and specialist skills. Their shadow and fingerprints are everywhere. Every waking moment is spent working in the business, from schmoozing customers during the week to completing management accounts at the weekend.

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Innovation

50 Innovation Questions to Transform your Business

We live in an era of opportunity. Some Growth Transformers like Jeff Bezos and Marc Benioff are seizing these opportunities, whilst others don’t seem to be up to the challenge. Thousands of smaller companies led by lesser-known Growth Transformers are also transforming themselves but are not quite grabbing the spotlight.

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Business Battlecard-Winning moves for growing companies

Business Battlecard: Brevity is the Soul of Strategy

When we started out advising companies, we met an energetic and enthusiastic CEO of a growing company who was trying to put a strategy in place to drive his company forward. However, after acquiring top business and strategy books and devising numerous business plans, he struggled to explain his strategy to the management team.

From now on,” he said, “I want a strategy that you can see on one page. If you can’t get it down on one page, it’s no good to me.” This made a huge impression on us. We realised that brevity is not just the soul of wit but also the soul of strategy.

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Customer acquisition

30 Customer Acquisition Growth Hacks that work!

Thinking about customer acquisition in traditional ways is a battle plan only for the brave. When companies in the same sector adopt a ‘sheep mentality’, differentiation becomes harder. Prospects are reached by a variety of different channels, so smart companies continuously adopt and juggle.

To discover the right approach for your company, you need to experiment. We have created a list, based on our work with startups and discussions with growth hackers like Morgan Brown, Sean Ellis and Ryan Holiday. Startups are a fertile ground to explore, as they experience most difficulty in acquiring new customers.

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Culture transforms team performance

Culture change could transform Ryanair's growth

In 2013, after shareholder pressure Michael O’Leary, CEO Ryanair, proclaimed at their AGM that he was going to address their ‘macho’ culture and improve customer service. He did not set his sights on Southwest Airline’s aim to ‘be the world’s most loved airline’ but it was a start.

Many scoffed at O’Leary but early signals of improved customer service have already started. More business travellers are opting for Ryanair and the recent bumper results also show that improved service may be delivering.

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Leader of Sales

Five Factors for Inside Sales Success

B2B sales are undergoing a transformation. Sales, which were traditionally sold via Field Sales teams, are moving to Inside Sales. The case for inside sales teams is compelling - they are less expensive and easier to measure and scale. Yet some companies seem to be succeeding well and others failing. The key is to create an Inside Sales Playbook.

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Compass2

Increase Growth with Critical Lead Measures

Companies measure lots of activities, like sales, customer support and performance but rely too much on lag measures (often financial) after the event. These lag measures are often too late. Figuring out the critical lead measures that help predict the future can have powerful affects on growth.

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sports team photo

Improving team performance..from top sports coaches

All great teams have a swagger and a confidence that says 'I'm going to beat you today'.  Every poster sports team like Barcelona, the All Blacks, and The Dream Team take good squads of players and build them into a high performing team.

In business and in sport, great coaches and leaders use variants of the simple but profound questions below to transform good players into high performing teams.

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plants2

Lack of Growth - Getting to the root cause

It's that time of year again and leadership teams are questioning their growth plans.  They look back at some of their planning assumptions: sales projections, product releases and new hires.

Whilst the CEO is on the hook for growth projections - too many managers at too many companies believe that growth numbers are imaginary, simple increments over last year's numbers.  So little attention is paid to them.  It's like having a plant in the corner of your office that dies every year - well wishers throw it occasional sorry glances or some water - but predictably it does not grow or thrive.

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poker_cards

Fundraising Poker - three things not to bluff about!

Raising funds is a bruising encounter.  Whether you are a first time entrepreneur or a seasoned industry veteran it involves pain and frustration and takes months of management focus.  Like a game of poker the stakes are high, and bluffing only pays off if you've got the right aces in your hand.

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Salesperson2

Preventing Sales hire remorse

Many founders flounder with international sales hiring.  They end up with sales hiring remorse - and the scars to prove it.  A sales hiring mistake results in finger pointing and costs a big six figure sum.  Most founders don't use a disciplined hiring process.  If they did, and stuck to it, their sucess rate would be higher.

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crossroads

Simply the best - excel at one thing

Lots of growth companies get stuck at a crossroads.  They have a good product  and a decent number of customers but they delude themselves in thinking that they can both build the best products and love their customers better than anybody else.  This lack of clarity by their leadership causes confusion and holds the companies' growth back.

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Focus on the critical few....rather than the trivial many

Too many growth companies are overwhelmed by lengthy plans and the distraction of the trivial many. Their CEOs find themselves drowning in detail, solving the crise du jour but unable to focus on those few things that would make growth happen. Cast as heroes, they play brilliantly, but dismally fail the audition from actor to director.

Great CEOs identify and pursue the 'critical few'. They make hard choices, adopt an unreasonable stubbornness and ensure each team member is clear and accountable. They leave no fudge room.

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investment2

The Start-up Investment Paradox Why less is more

Given that many business investors are on their way to the poor house, most start-ups are not going to secure investment until they become real companies. Here are five reasons why they may be better off...

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