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Andi Gray: Imagining the future

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Andi GrayThe good news is we’ve been growing. But we’re operating a company of 50 employees the same way as we worked when we were at 20 employees. What should we be doing to make things better as we continue to grow?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Think ahead, build systems that will benefit a company twice the size. Figure out your leadership team of the future. Imagine your customers of the future. Build controls that serve the increased volume of activity. Learn about technology advances that can help you stay ahead of productivity and innovation curves.

Companies, like individuals, are organisms and they’re either growing or decaying. If it sounds like your company is more on the side of growth, your job is to keep it there.

Companies, like individuals, can run into inflection points where they max out knowledge, run low on new ideas and get stalled. Your job as CEO is to infuse new actionable ideas by dreaming about what is possible, getting an education on what comes next and engaging your people in pursuit of the possibilities of tomorrow.

Brainstorm what the company could look like down the road, at twice the size, with additional customers, new markets to serve, additional employees and systems to do the work. Not sure how to do that? Get help now before it’s too late.

Consider what systems your company will need at twice the size. What areas will need additional resources? What parts will hardly grow? Start building underlying systems now that can support the company in the future. Try not to take huge bets, but rather move incrementally.

Send people to classes and to visit worksites that have, or are building, what your company will need in the future. Learn about what works for others and think how you can adapt that to work in your environment.

At twice the size, you’ll need a lot more skill. Who on your management team is capable of growth? Who needs to be replaced? Who needs a stronger support structure? Do a person-by-person assessment of strengths, weaknesses and needs.

Define skills for the future. Map out the organization’s people structure at twice the size. Consider what needs can be met by contractors and consultants. What will come from additions to the staff or boosting current workforce talent? Make a priority list, like a shopping list. Set up an annual budget for talent growth and acquisition and get to work assembling tomorrow’s dream team.

How much time do you spend thinking about who your company will serve 10 years from now? Probably not enough. While your company is busy servicing today’s customers, it also has to be imagining and designing what the future looks like. Who will have needs to solve, money to spend and the motivation to look outside for solutions?

Set aside time quarterly to brainstorm about where the world is going and how your company might fit into that brave new world. Consider the customers and markets that can drive future growth and profits.

Increased size needs more controls. How will you ensure quality and accuracy and oversee a company that has a lot more moving parts? Get to know what companies two to three times your size do to maintain control.

Where will the world be in five or 10 years? Dedicate a portion of your year to attending innovation conferences and reading what futurists say. Build a vision of how your company could fit in. Challenge your staff to engage with this vision and contribute to how your company will operate down the road.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next” by Cecily Sommers.

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics at 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.

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Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., strategyleaders.com, a business consulting firm that specializes in helping small to midsize, privately held businesses achieve doubled revenues and tripled profits in repetitive growth cycles. Interested in learning how Strategy Leaders can help your business? Call now for a free consultation and diagnostic process: (877) 238-3535. Do you have a question for Andi? Email her: AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Visit AskAndi.com for an entire library of her articles.

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