What is Engineered Growth?

Place a check below if you have ever seen:

  1. _A company that is not even nice to the customer, yet still makes a profit
  2. _A company that puts you on hold and forgets you, yet keeps growing
  3. _A marketing campaign your sales person doesn’t even know about, but they want you to buy anyway
  4. _A sales person with few skills so buying is hard and takes forever
  5. _The advertised price is a mistake, yet your sales person doesn’t seem to care
  6. _A company that has ongoing product problems, yet their stock keeps going up

 

These are examples of BOTW (best of the worst) companies, and the opposite of these are those companies that practice “engineered growth” — or BOTB (best of the best) companies.

This is not to suggest that leaders of BOTW companies got up in the morning to design a company that treats the customer poorly, has inventory problems, lacks integrity, has no process control, and has marginal sales and marketing skills. They believe they are really good companies that bring value to their stakeholders, staff, and customers. After all, they must be good companies — they are growing and making money, and the market rewards good companies while punishing poor companies — right?

Unfortunately, that is not the case, at least in the short term.

Think about:

  • Phone company monopolies
  • Power company monopolies
  • Transportation monopolies
  • Companies with patents or other protected intellectual property
  • Companies that are the only game in town
  • Companies that were first to the market
  • Companies that are in a hot market with more buyers than products to buy (think housing in 2005 and cell phones in the early days)

 

Many companies on the BOTW list started out believing they were good companies and doing a great service to the market, but then something changed. The patent expired, the government broke up the monopolies, great competition showed up, or the economy changed. These are examples of changes that wounded or killed companies who lived without an engineered growth platform. Only when they were seriously ill was it clear that they were a BOTW company.

There are reasons BOTB companies are winners over decades. Often BOTB companies started in the Depression or in a recession, but in all cases, they built a solid revenue platform that delivers intentional engineered growth over the long term where results are measurable, manageable, scalable, predictable, and transparent to everyone involved.

The platforms are not all the same, and over time, they will change to reflect the realities of the world and the markets they dominate. Some BOTB companies with household names include IBM, GE, 3M, etc. They have all built platforms that make it clear why they exist, how they serve, and what they are doing to bring real value to the market.They are companies with missions, values, goals, and plans — all of which are supported by the most basic platform element: integrity .

With those high-level platform elements in place, they instinctively develop and deploy revenue strategies to meet market requirements and then support those revenue strategies with systems, processes, and metrics to be sure they don’t get off the path. When the customer, the market, or the business environment shows them they are off the path, they listen, review, and right their revenue strategy to get back on path.

Companies that want to be BOTB need to build their own platform and keep morphing it to reflect the lessons from the customers, the market, and the economy.

 

Each platform level has specific things to address:

High level

  • Why you are in business (the mission)
  • How you serve customers, partners, staff, and owners (the vision)
  • What you are doing right now to bring value and generate revenue (goals and plan)

Deployment level (a revenue generation strategy)

  • What is your brand promise?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What’s the “problem” that you solve for the customer that no one else solves?
  • What niche/s do or will you dominate?
  • Which are your key offers that will lead to the domination of those niches?

Operational deployment level (create function-level strategies)

  • Finance
  • Operations/manufacturing
  • HR
  • IT

 

Engineered growth is practiced and demonstrated by BOTB companies who embrace the three platform levels. They know that like all structures, there is a requirement for review and maintenance.

 

If each level of the organization is committed to being aligned to the level above it, and the top level is aligned to the customer, there may be periods when the organization is off the path but it will be clear how to quickly engineer everyone back on the path.

 

Compare these BOTB to the BOTW companies at the beginning of this post that intentionally or unintentionally exploit a current market bubble with little or no commitment to the three platform levels of engineered growth, managing for short-term gain and ignoring both long-term opportunities and risks.

 

To be the best of the best, design your own three-level platform for engineered growth, and never stop reviewing how it’s supporting you, and be sure to do the necessary maintenance on your platform over time.

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