Four Principles for Sustainable Growth

Explosive growth – sales numbers that are off the charts – is like a car racing down a highway: sure, you’re getting where you want to go fast, but you also run a high risk of crashing. Sustainable growth – like the five straight years of bottom line revenue growth experienced by Integrated Project Management (IPM) is controlled and scalable, and provides a measure of security while still moving the company closer to the financial success you’re seeking.

At IPM, the senior leaders pursue what they call “the right growth”: a growth that takes a long term view on results. In this short video, part of the Return on Values research project, IPM’s leadership shares their four principles for sustainable growth.

Watch this video with your senior management team, then use the questions below to launch a discussion on your own sustainable growth. 

Discussion Guide

IPM’s four principles for sustainable growth include:

  1. Manage debt prudently and, if possible, stay financially independent so you control your future.
  2. Hire top talent for the long term.  Invest in employees and commit to their security.
  3. Promote leaders from within, people who have proven track records and are trustworthy.
  4. Grow only as fast as you can scale your culture.

With this in mind, discuss the video with your team:

  • How do you define your company’s growth strategy? Is it long or short-term focused? Aggressive? Anemic? Sustainable? Discuss this with your team, identifying “growing pains” you are experiencing as a result of the strategy.
  • When an important position becomes vacant, do you tend to look for internal leaders, or make an external hire? Has either choice had a positive or negative impact on your capacity for growth, innovation, or stability?
  • How do you sustain your corporate culture in the midst of growth? Is this important to you and your leaders? Discuss why or why not.
  • As a team, identify three or four factors that have been important for your own sustainable growth. Are these principles always true, or are they circumstantial? How could you use these principles to guide your decision-making?

Is your growth pattern sustainable?

  1. I have financial control of the business. Yes/No
  2. My leaders, my employees, and I are working reasonable hours. Yes/No
  3. We are making hiring decisions with a long-term perspective. Yes/No
  4. Our culture is strong and positive, and is keeping pace with our growth. Yes/No
  5. External market factors are expected to remain unchanged. Yes/No

If you answered Yes to all the above questions, then your growth pattern is likely to be sustainable. If you answered No to one or more questions, you may want to devote time in the coming weeks to evaluating your company’s approach to growth.

Share your stories: What guides your sustainable growth? Tell us below.

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