Business growth strategies work best when you are constantly seeking out issues during execution and addressing those issues head on. The most important part of successful execution in my view is to periodically reflect (via a retrospective or after action review) to identify as many important issues as you can (that you are having with each iteration of the execution of the business growth strategy). If you are an expansion stage company and don’t have a long list of big issues, you are either not executing aggressively enough or you are not working hard enough to seek out your issues and highlight them.
It is exceptionally important to have your issues identified, as each issue is an opportunity to get better and the bigger issues are opportunities to get much better!
I just got back from a board meeting with one of my favorite management teams who practice this approach exceptionally well in their quarterly operating reviews and board meetings. If the average operator sat in the meetings, they would probably think that this company had serious problems because of all the issues that were discussed. My reaction is just the opposite. I know that every company has issues (by my definition, executing business growth strategies CREATES issues), but this company is particularly good at seeking out their issues and, equally important, addressing them.
The great thing about the meetings is that we can spend the time discussing ideas and approaches that address the most important business issues rather than help the team identify their issues. This gives the management team the opportunity to get ideas from other members of their senior team and also get advice, ideas, and contacts from the board members and outside observers who may have experience addressing these types of issues (or know people who can help, or can help craft approaches that can help).
The more issues that you address, the better you become, and this company is becoming great at a rapid rate because of their approach to seeking out and addressing issues.
Issues are opportunities…reward the people who find and highlight them!