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A dreamer to the core. A thinker. A writer. A marketer. A poet. A management guru in the making! A keen observer of business, organizations, leaders, society, economic environment, consumers, and innovation. A confirmed maverick who loves to turn conventional wisdom upside down!

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Growth: A Mind Game

Often I see some leaders and managers balking at the prospect of setting and chasing high growth targets. Very often ‘impossible’ is the word that comes on the tongue when high growth targets are mentioned. Perhaps the reason behind this is reference points. They often take last year’s patterns, or recent trends, or the obvious opportunities visible with naked eyes as the reference point. I refer to this phenomenon as “demand servicing” mentality.

But I feel that growth is a mind game. What is needed is a mind set of “demand creation” rather than a pure “demand servicing”. Of course, “demand servicing” is equally important for accelerated growth, the point is that it should not be the starting point. The starting point should be “demand creation” followed by putting up an excellent “demand servicing” mechanism in place.

The situation is particularly tricky in organizations which are at a fairly mature stage of their life cycle. In such cases, there is greater resistance to any talk of higher growth targets. But it does not mean that there is no scope for higher growth. Many people in such organizations cannot simply comprehend growing at a higher rate than the accepted rate of growth because the only thing they see is saturation. They feel whatever demand there is they are effectively servicing it and hence it is not possible for them to grow faster. They don’t give much thought to how to create new demand. Perhaps they are mentally too lazy to think innovatively and out-of-the-box. The point is that if we see and analyze the situation from an obvious perspective we will miss many hidden things.

And this mentality prevailing in the minds of many leaders and managers is responsible for slow growth of many organizations. So an organization might be growing by 12% and conventional wisdom will say that it is a good growth for that particular company. But it might be possible that this company is underperforming and it should be growing by 25%. Well, for this to happen unconventional thinking will be required that challenges the current assumptions, many of which might turn out to be false.

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