The 7 Growth Killers

Growth Killer #6: Tactical Deficiency

by Tim Kinney, Strategic Growth Planner I

n this installment, we’ll explore the next growth killer by deficiency – tactical deficiency. It is one of the most common growth killers, especially for smaller businesses. In its simplest instance, tactical deficiency is when a business does not have the necessary resources and tools to successfully execute their growth plan. Typically in these cases, a business leadership team with ambitions to grow, hatches a growth strategy

(perhaps a brilliant growth

strategy), but does not possess the actual means to the desired end result. That is, they are idea rich but execution poor. Tactical deficiencies are most

obvious in those resource areas we’ve touched on before -- time, talent and treasure. Each are interrelated to a large extent but let’s look at each separately for now: • Time. There are at least two parts to time as a growth resource. First, we can think of it as capacity. Are there enough free labor hours available to dedicate to growth? Unless you are part of an organization where your employees have a lot of free time to spare, this is a constant issue for most businesses. Sure, to generate growth, your employees could be asked to work harder and longer. Depending on how much growth is targeted, that is likely unsustainable. So, where will you find the time capacity to execute? Secondly, we know that a well-defined growth objective specifies a target date. Depending on that timeframe (e.g., do we have 6 months or 3 years to reach the target?), time as a resource has a different meaning. You may have very little or plenty of it depending on your perspective.

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• Talent. In this case, talent means both the number of labor resources you can assign to the growth objective as well as the type of labor resources. Small and large businesses alike face similar challenges here.

You may be

fortunate enough to have willing people who want to help. But do those individuals have the right skills, training and experience to do what needs to be done to execute the growth plan. For instance, your best sales person may be pretty good at marketing. But, do you pull your best hitter to come in to pitch? Have you fully assessed what type of talent resources you really need for your great growth idea? Where will you find them? That is, will you insource or outsource the talent you need?

• Treasure. Ah, yes. Money is the great equalizer but what are the true costs of the growth plan? And, what’s the value of your money? If you’re already sitting on large sums of cash, the need to grow may be less urgent and perhaps even a less attractive risk. More often than not, growth strategies of cash-rich organizations tend to merger and acquisition based rather than on organic growth. For the rest of us, especially those with significant and/or expensive debt, growth is a necessity. So, how you bankroll your growth plan is critical.

And these are just the three primary and admittedly obvious tactical deficiencies. There are other tools you may need that haven’t been developed yet, such as marketing and brand building assets, software and so on.

Over the past 28 years, Tim Kinney has helped companies generate hundreds of millions in new growth. He is the Vice President of Accident & Health Marketing for Sirius Group, a global reinsurance company. Tim is also a writer, trainer and consultant specializing in strategic growth planning. He is the editor of the blog Growth Monitor Weekly and recently produced an online course, “How To Build Your Growth Strategy.” His book, the Growth Strategist’s Guidebook, is available on

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