The 7 Growth Killers

Growth Killer #7: Process Deficiency

by Tim Kinney, Strategic Growth Planner I

n the past two installments, we’ve explored strategic and tactical deficiencies. The third is process

deficiency, which is closely related to tactical deficiency but is more systemic in nature. Process deficiency is when an organization does not have proven, time-tested procedures in place to consistently execute.

As it relates to

growth, a company may know how to grow (strategy) and may have the necessary resources to grow (tactics), but they lack operational prowess across the organization in order to consistently execute with precision. So, when it comes time to implement

a plan, process deficient organizations often end up flying by the seat of their pants (aka winging it) or use inefficient processes. In some cases, companies must become wheel reinvention experts simply to keep up with market practices. In these cases, rather than rely on the adoption of tried and true methods, the company invests too much time and energy on developing a process that is perfect for them.

Growth Processes It may be helpful to look at some examples. For instance, suppose a company decides to acquire another company in order to grow the business. They have the capital means to make an acquisition. However, they have never done it before. How will they do it? Where would they start? That company is process deficient. That’s not a fault or a criticism. An acquisition simply isn’t in their cultural DNA. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn and develop those processes in time. However, I suspect that growth by acquisition may be a bit of a bumpy road for them while they figure it out. Contrast the example above with

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a company where acquisitions are commonplace. Some industry verticals, like the insurance agency market, are prime for consolidation. Large agencies seem to acquire smaller agencies on an almost daily basis. In these instances, the acquiring company likely has fully- staffed departments with well-defined orders of operation to identify target takeover companies, teams to conduct thorough due diligence, legal and finance teams to create sale terms and full integrations plans. This is what they do and they how to do it well. Or, if growth by acquisition isn’t

your best strategic play, consider something a little more common, like an ad campaign to spark some new leads for organic growth. Many small to mid-sized companies don’t employ an in-house marketing and advertising team. Nonetheless, creating a launching ad campaign has a lot of moving parts, multiple roles and responsibilities, and is very much process driven. Compounding

the process

deficiency issue is the need for procedural documentation and process management once a process is defined. Often, even when a process is followed, it remains the tribal knowledge of a chosen few. This leads the company exposed if the small number of people “in

the know” decides to leave the

organization. Once a process for growth is established, it must be documented and ideally, other company team members are cross-trained to ensure future success. Other challenges arise as well, such as managing outmoded legacy systems (and their work-arounds) and errors due to staff training gaps.

Case Study: Can A Millennial Send a Fax? Back in 2014, a regional credit union

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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