Managing Priorities in a Volatile Environment
These companies face the necessity of having a rapid-response strategy for change. Companies undergoing extremely rapid growth are an integrated component in a global multistakeholder environment. These companies face a necessity of rapid-response strategy for change.
The ability to set the right corporate priorities and successfully manage constant internal and external change is the definition of agility for hypergrowth companies. This agility also impacts the process of setting the right corporate priorities related to key growth drivers (i.e. customers, technology, operations, funding and finance, partnerships, talent and risk management).
Lean processes, simple structures and scalable operations are assisted by clear and well-tested management practices. Successful firms describe decision-making as iterative, fast and experimental. To ensure continuous scalability, hypergrowth companies seldom follow an exact roadmap. Rather, they navigate ever-changing, unmapped landscapes. Agile companies must also master the timing of strategic moves. Once leadership has set a new priority, leadership attention is focused on the changes needed to reach the next milestone.
Heavy processes and written planning protocols are not critical management tools in hypergrowth companies. The more streamlined the planning, the better. Simple rules and guidelines are used to help everyone to execute quickly, moving to the next milestone. To achieve hypergrowth, risks are taken until wrong turns are identified and successful strategies are identified. Astute executives maintain relationships with peers, experienced advisers and stakeholders to avoid speed blindness.
Agility, solution examples
Key Growth challenge
1.1 Guided by only a few simple principles
Complex market for expansion and scaling (clients, talent, finance, regulation)
Form a few simple guidelines to support the team and enable scaling with a focus on agile execution and experimentation
Hypergrowth Company, MENA, Co-Founder
“Strategic choices are initially important. But in the hypergrowth phase it is much more about how than what. Long-term engagement with the clients is the choice that our company selected to stay with. Everything else has been mainly about agility. We made some simple rules: (1) to collect only data which the company will use; (2) to have clear talent requirements (the right talent, calibre, skills and technology/product/market understanding); and (3) to have continuous experimentation. And once experimenting, we have also learned the (4) art of making quick turnarounds and exits of the trials that are not working.”
1.2 Three simple rules for guiding through growth
Facing both regulatory and talent (acquiring talent) hurdles that affect scalability
Maintain a purposeful culture through communication, inclusive talent, tone of the top management and leadership agility
Hypergrowth Company, APAC, CEO
“Culture is dependent on exposure to global markets, backgrounds of the workforce and leadership. Our set of rules includes three important things. Firstly, we emphasize the exposure to different markets through our own people. We communicate everything at the same time to all of our employees. Secondly, we look for talent with versatile backgrounds – not only skills but also attitude and fit to our purpose. Finally, we have set the bar high for the leadership. As leaders, we walk the talk. In a rapidly changing environment, we give predictability to the team by our own actions and behaviour.”
1.3 Agility might also mean temporary scaling back
Company facing complex challenges with working capital, talent alignment, operations and customer support while trying meet exponential demand in the hypergrowth phase
Modify internal structures, business model and team and reduce complexity through realignment
Service Industry, South Asia, CEO
“The growth in the hypergrowth phase was just too hyper. At our strongest growth, we made a decision to scale back through a transition in our business model. We couldn’t handle the pace which XaaS brought us and we went back to a more traditional business model. Now the company is able to scale, expand and grow on a sustainable base. As a CEO, I travel around to all locations and meet our people. Everyone is invited to the CEO conference calls, where decisions are explained and highs, lows and other significant issues are covered. The transition was a bit chaotic, but then it was calm. Then the management team knew that they were ready to speed up the growth again.”