Boosting a company's growth in 2 words
Jerome Bloch, the author of the book "Illusion of Simplicity" and the CEO of 360Crossmedia - a company which specialises in growth - describes the keys to unlocking business development.
What are the key factors in achieving growth?
The growth of a company is just like athletic performance: on one hand, it’s based on a clear strategy and on the other hand, it’s based on the ability of the company to apply and adapt this strategy, day after day, in the long term. I call this the “no bullshit” approach, because I often notice that employees from companies where we work waste a significant amount of energy trying to explain the inexplicable or trying to create exceptions to the strategy established by management. From 1990 to 2000, I was a golf pro, which taught me the difficulties in finding a successful recipe for performance: playing well over 18 holes has nothing to do with luck or chance; it’s all about a well-prepared training plan which has been applied to the letter! I would like to congratulate the organisers of “360Insights GP View” for putting together the first conference dedicated to this branch of our financial industry, because private equity and venture capital are becoming increasingly important in Luxembourg. The benefits of being in Luxembourg are obvious: the top 10 private equity firms are present here and 80% of all private equity investments use Luxembourg-based structures. It seems that we have the right framework for this sector, which probably explains the success of the conference at the Philharmonie.
"Leadership, human resources, sales, production and IT must all sing from the same hymn sheet."
What are the key features of a good strategy?
There are three essential features: inspiring, co-ordinating and providing measurable performance indicators. A strategy capable of exciting every employee must be implemented in a collaborative, realistic and visionary way. Above all, it must be easy for everyone to understand because, in general, when people understand what they have to do, they do it. There are few companies with such a strategy, for a variety of reasons. The strategy must also be holistic. I often hear people saying that “the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts” but that’s only true if all the parts are perfectly synchronised. Leadership, human resources, sales, production and IT must all sing from the same hymn sheet, with each department at the top of its game. Lastly, the strategy must provide performance indicators which are easy to measure to avoid long, unhelpful speeches. Every employee must take their share of responsibility as part of the plan and justify their performance. That sounds like a harsh approach but in practice, it’s the best approach to protect jobs and to reduce employees’ stress levels.
Can every company improve its growth?
Absolutely. An ageing company will be on the right path again when it finally starts using modern technological tools. Another will speed up its development by capitalising on powerful and free communication channels. Another will stop marketing an obsolete product to focus on marketing another more innovative product. A young company will increase its growth by making good investments, early on. Today, it’s possible to use information systems which are worthy of multinationals for just a few euros a month, which enables companies to reduce their costs while boosting their performance from the very beginning. The possibilities for growth today are almost infinite.
In practical terms, how do you boost the growth of a company?
Our method works like an internal audit, carried out by the employees. We work as catalysts and produce a document describing the essence of each department: Leadership, HR, Sales, Product, Data, Soft Skills. The information is clear and transparent and since the documents are very concise, employees can easily learn and apply what’s in them. We also provide questionnaires which enable employees to verify their knowledge at regular intervals.