Expanding Your Executive Team for Exponential Growth
Growth happens when organizations make deliberate decisions about their direction. And as your business expands, so should your executive team. Executive expansion requires forethought and a deep dedication to finding the right people at the right time.
A growth mindset
Organizational growth begins with business leaders who rely on a growth mindset to shape their behavior and drive their decisions. Some leaders may pay lip service to the ideaof growth, but without conscious, intentional action to promote sustainable and profitable growth, ideas don’t amount to much.
A growth mindset is the belief that skills, intelligence, and processes can be improved with training, effort, and persistence. In business, this approach creates a dynamic in which leaders and employees embrace challenges, learn from mistakes and constructive criticism, and address problems with agility and adaptivity. A growth mindset shapes decision-making across every aspect of business to elevate ambitions and inspire a sense of mission and purpose. Growth leaders provide enormous benefits to their companies: They generate more value for shareholders and foster a culture that creates jobs, attracts talent, and encourages innovation.
Leaders who choose to cultivate a growth mindset think, act, and communicate differently than their less growth-minded peers. They actively track growth indicators to tie company goals to clear, quantifiable KPIs. According to McKinsey, “When a business leader chooses growth, that choice begins to shape behavior, mindset, risk appetite, and investment decisions, creating a growth orientation across the organization.” The right leader — with the right mindset — can create enough growth momentum to motivate every stakeholder in your company.
Growth leaders tend to share a few characteristics, and those that display three or more of the following traits are more likely than others to drive profitable growth:
- A growth story. 80% of successful growth-oriented leaders regularly share stories about their career obstacles, setbacks, and successes.
- Fast over flawless. Because they understand that action drives success far more efficiently than striving for perfection at every step, 70% of growth leaders prefer prompt action over perfect results.
- Unafraid to fail. Leaders who launch multiple long-term growth initiatives — rather than relying on a few “sure things” — are more likely to create growth.
- Customer knowledge. Growth leaders make a concerted effort to know and understand their company’s customers via a variety of formal and informal research tools.
- Long-term vision. The most successful leaders create long-term growth goals and enjoy the autonomy to act with or without demonstrating short-term results.
From frontline employees to board members and investors, growth leaders are adept at building buy-in across the full range of company stakeholders. And when challenges do arise, they respond with speed, innovation, and adaptivity to keep growth efforts moving forward.
Finding new leadership
Even under the best circumstances, expanding your executive leadership team comes with specific challenges. Before you start your executive expansion efforts, identify any gaps in current leadership, and use the following questions to identify and recruit a growth-minded leader:
- Does the candidate fit your leadership persona? What are your ideal candidate’s personality, strengths, and vision? In short, what is their persona? Are they an innovator? An academic? A creative genius? Are they bold or reserved? Identifying essential leadership qualities helps you create a candidate persona for spotting suitable talent matches.
- Do they bring something new to the table? Thought leadership is most effective when it’s consistent. Does your preferred candidate already have a solid message platform with a unique perspective?
- Does their communication style work with your company culture? Does your current company culture value open, inclusive communication and multilevel collaboration? Or is it strictly a top-down communication scenario? Are you looking to preserve the status quo or shake things up? Consider growth goals in the context of internal and external communication.
- Do they have a visible media presence and/or established professional reputation? Visibility is a crucial component of thought and growth leadership. A robust visibility campaign will involve getting your new leader’s platform out into the market with your company name and brand attached. Look for timely ways to connect an existing platform to relevant trends and issues affecting your business.
- Will the candidate add to your industry credibility? Building credibility takes time, intention, and effort. Stay engaged with strategic opportunities to embody executive perspective on important issues and events. This may involve contributing to industry publications, weighing in on current events, and/or speaking at widely regarded industry forums.
Exponential growth requires growth-minded leaders who engage with your employees, your market, and your industry to inspire innovation and new direction. Take your executive leadership to the next level with candidates focused on leveling up.