4 Common Myths about Growth

Whether believing that it takes 21 days to change a habit, or that failure is bad, we often act on advice and assumptions that may not always be true. 

Are you relying on practices or behaviours that, despite wide adoption, have been discredited?

Drawing on the experience of more than 70 global business leaders we reveal 4 common myths it is time to debunk. 

1. Cannibalisation should be avoided.

Cannibalisation is widely cited as a watch out for companies wanting to deliver incremental growth. New products, services and initiatives have to deliver significant incremental business without stealing from existing sales. It holds back companies and makes them vulnerable to disruption. If your organisation doesn’t cannibalise its own business, someone else will.

“Very often companies get stuck and seem afraid of losing things they have. What's astonishing about companies who grow is their preparedness to cut off some of their arms and legs to get there“ Jan Gooding, Group Brand Director AVIVA PLC

2. 40% Plan. 20% Do. 40% Review. The classic model.

Ditch the 40-20-40 model. First, the environment changes too quickly for that much planning. Second, the environment changes too quickly for that much review. It’s particularly acute when a business isn’t performing: analysing through the rear-view mirror is time-consuming, and distracts attention from what’s ahead.

“In a world of transparency and access, you don't have time, it's important that whoever you have in key roles, you know that you can rely on them to think through and respond rather than wait for orders.” Gavin Patterson, CEO BT

3. Good stakeholder management means getting everyone to agree.

The need to be joined-up, plus the complex matrix organisation of today puts even greater emphasis on stakeholder management. And with that can come slowness, dilution of ideas and obstacles to courage. Instead of looking for consensus, look for consent to making a decision. By all means have people involved in the discussion, but the decision to proceed should be based on a preparedness to try the idea, rather than belief it is perfect.

“It's complicated to simplify things and it's simple to complicate things. Ask does this department have a reason to be? Do these meetings have a reason to be? If so, do they need to be so long?” Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO PERNOD RICARD

4. Retaining star talent is core to growth.

Fast-growing companies create organisational capability bigger than any one person. Instead of prioritising investment in nurturing stars or high potentials, they look to lift the performance across the board. They accept that people will leave, and instead focus on creating a mutual value exchange with them while they are working together, so that learning flows in both directions as part of a broader learning culture.

“To an increasing extent, building organisation capability will be about building capability into the systems which surround people. Perhaps the best illustration of that is taxi driving. You don't need ‘The Knowledge’. You need a satnav.”  Nick Shackleton Jones, Formerly Director, Learning Innovation & Technology BP

There’s no doubt that organisations need to change in order to meet future growth goals. 69% of respondents in our Growth Drivers Study say their business is ready to deliver the changes required. Is it time for your organisation to ditch some of these myths in favour of a new growth code

As always we’d welcome your reflections and challenges via LinkedIn and Twitter. If you want to explore how BRAND LEARNING can help you in lifting the capabilities in your organisation, do get in touch.


BRAND LEARNING: Inspiring people. Lifting capabilities. Growing organisations.