Accelerating Your Manufacturing Company’s Corporate Growth Strategy Starts With a Growth Committee
By James Dorn, President
If you’ve been in manufacturing for any length of time, you already know that it’s no longer enough to maintain the status quo if you want to grow your business — or even just defend your existing market share. You want your manufacturing company to stay ahead of the curve. To do that, your corporate growth strategy will need to be aggressive and seek to outperform market conditions as well as your equally hungry competition.
Successfully achieving that sort of growth isn’t a one-person sport. It’s an orchestrated effort that will demand the commitment of every member of your organization. But without careful coordination, your individual leadership teams may pursue divergent strategies, resulting in wasted resources and limited outcomes. You need organization-wide alignment around a shared vision, agility to adjust as needed along the way and accountability in your execution. The best way to get there? Establish a purpose-driven growth committee.
Corporate Growth Strategy: Why Manufacturers Should Invest in a Growth Committee
You may have responded to the first mention of a growth committee with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, many manufacturing companies pursue growth without the benefit of a dedicated growth committee. And the last thing your team needs is yet another series of unproductive internal meetings taking up time on their calendars. But growth committees (and their meetings) should be highly productive in identifying and pursuing opportunities for growth and accelerating strategic goals.
Your organization’s growth committee should consist of key cross-functional team members that meet in a structured manner and on a specific cadence. One of the key benefits of this setup is that it brings your cross-functional teams out of isolation as they consider opportunities for growth. Each of your functional teams is likely responsible for its own annual plan to drive revenue growth. Without intentional collaboration between teams, these individual plans can be written in a vacuum and suffer from tunnel vision. At best, this means that your organization misses out on opportunities for synergistic efficiencies that come from bringing disparate plans into alignment. And at worst, your individual teams may be running in such different directions that they ultimately undercut their own efforts and hamper your firm’s growth trajectory.
Establishing a growth committee removes the silos that can unintentionally form within your organization. At the same time, growth committees facilitate meaningful cross-functional collaboration around strategic growth. As a result, a growth committee can help your firm:
- Collect and vet growth ideas
- Identify and document a company-wide strategy for growth
- Allocate resources efficiently
- Aggressively pursue growth in an organized, agile, and accelerated manner
- Bring your whole organization into alignment around a shared vision
- Quickly and concertedly adjust to market and competitive factors
- Integrate firm goals and initiatives
- Reduce unproductive meetings
- Produce annual plans that are strategically optimized
- Reduce your time to market
- Implement your corporate growth strategy with structured oversight and accountability
Any growth-oriented manufacturing company can benefit from a growth committee. But take note: This model works especially well for PE-backed firms because ownership typically prefers a disciplined approach to accelerated revenue growth with predictable outcomes and a shorter-term investment cycle of 3-5 years.
Building a Growth Committee for Maximum Effectiveness
There’s no one right way to structure your manufacturing company’s growth committee. Your company’s unique culture and internal structure will likely inform your approach. But the following guidelines should help you figure out how best to leverage this group for maximum effectiveness.
- Identify a strong leader (or two) to take ownership of your growth committee. Your committee leader may be a Chief Revenue Officer (if you have one), marketing executive, sales leader or even the CEO. Regardless of their title, your growth committee leader (or leaders) should have a strong interest in growing your company and an understanding of your organization’s bigger-picture roadmap.
- Assemble your growth committee team. Your committee leader should put together a team with representatives from each of the functional groups that have a hand in growing your company. That includes marketing, sales, product, customer service and finance. When it comes to selecting committee members, titles may be less important than a willingness to put forth new ideas and an appetite to relentlessly pursue change.
- Establish a regular meeting cadence and structure. Feel free to establish a cadence for your growth committee that works with your firm’s existing internal meeting structure. A monthly meeting frequency is the minimum required. Even better, though, is a series of weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings. In this scheme, quarterly meetings are used for collaborative ideation with the goal of establishing or evolving your overall corporate growth strategy. Monthly meetings can be used to share updates and work through any issues arising out of weekly meetings. And weekly meetings are brief check-ins to track progress on to-do lists and elevate issues as they arise. Regardless of how you do it, each meeting should have a clear structure and purpose.
- Establish measures of success, ownership and accountability. Your organization’s growth initiatives may or may not be determined by the growth committee. Either way, it’s the growth committee’s responsibility to break those initiatives down into smaller steps, delegate ownership for each of those subtasks and measure the success of all growth-related activities against the larger growth initiatives.
- Include outside expertise as needed. Your growth committee’s job is to be in pursuit of the best, most innovative strategies for growth. Sometimes that may mean leveraging the outside expertise and perspective of consultants or other industry leaders.