Leading in the middle – Seven silent killers of growth

In his book, Leading in the Middle (available by clicking this link) Robert Sher of CEO to CEO, an American consulting firm specialising in mid sized, often adolescent, companies shares what he sees as the seven silent growth killers of Medium sized companies. As usual I summarise and interpret the key points in my words below and encourage readers to follow through by reading the book.

Letting Time Slip-Slide Away

Projects seem to take too long, or get stuck altogether. Business leaders need to set target timescales and create a sense of urgency.

Strategy Tinkering at the Top

Continually changing core strategy and chasing the latest idea for growth can be deadly.  Stick to your core competence and be persistent and change direction with care.

Reckless Attempts at Growth

Impatiently throwing time and money at seemingly good opportunities that don’t build on strengths increases risk and cost.  Be clear what you don’t do as well as what you do.

Fumbled Strategic Acquisitions

Most acquisitions fail.  But they are critical tool to achieve ambitious growth.  So do acquisitions carefully with a clear understanding of how they will be integrated to deliver profitable growth.

Operational Meltdown

Profit is good, but driving short term profit without building the platform for future growth will cause a business to plateau or fail.  Invest in the infrastructure that will deliver an effective as well as an efficient operation.

The Liquidity Crash

Businesses fail because they run out of cash not because they’re not profitable.  Take care when growing fast that you have the cash to deliver what you’re selling.

Tolerating Dysfunctional Leaders

Politics comes into every organisation, but don’t let it get in the way of business.  Watch for those invest time in telling you a good story and take credit from those who are actually doing things.

Bob Bradley

Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.

Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.

Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.

MD2MD membership

  • You meet your peer group privately for structured confidential conversations about real business challenges. You meet online for 90 minutes every 3 weeks.
  • You attend one of a selection of open workshops led by top professional speakers sharing best practice on a wide range of leadership topics.
  • You join our annual conference LeaderFest and our annual ‘Retreat to advance’.