Leadership & Strategy mentor Keith Lamb responds: We have more than a few growth recipes, but they all boil down to smart planning and employee involvement. Here are some keys to our fast growth.
All of our companies manage with an open-book philosophy. That is, we share financial and operational data with our associates, and we teach them how to understand that data. We give our people hours of financial training, in classes and on the job. They learn by tracking the numbers day in and day out, and they do a good job of forecasting their revenues and costs. If you can accurately forecast a number, then you understand it. That understanding drives our growth.
Each company is structured as a stand-alone entity and leverages its knowledge and relationships with each of the other companies. Each has its own income statement, balance sheets, financial plans, and operational goals. For all intents and purposes, they're separate companies. But our companies also practice common business values, and they support and play off each other. We base everything we do on our core beliefs, our vision, and our goals.
Our associates have the opportunity to participate in a long-term performance/incentive plan which focuses on improving our key numbers -- the ones that drive our entire business. They know how to interpret our company financials and our key operating influences, and they're rewarded generously for moving our numbers in the right direction.
Our operating goals are highly visible, and the results are measured back to our plan. Our planning process is "bottom up," which means that all of our associates are involved in revenue projections, budgeting, and tracking our important numbers. Everyone is an active participant in the growth of our businesses.
Goal setting, team building, rewards, recognition, and other incentives drive our values system. Having shared values is important, because you don't have to stop and think, "Is that something we should be doing?" With shared values, we already know the answer.