Three Success Factors To Break Through Your Growth Ceiling

Monday, November 25, 2013 11:29
Three Success Factors To Break Through Your Growth Ceiling

Tags: business planning | managing

The vast majority of firms, at some point in the growth of their business, will hit a ceiling or series of ceilings. This “ceiling” is the point where your internal resources supply (people, technology, and your system of doing business) cannot keep up with the growth demands for your firm’s services.  

To become a top performing firm, you need to recognize that you have hit, or are about to hit, a ceiling and be able to break through them.

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I have been working with a firm that has hit their “ceiling” and has been stuck in the same place for some time.  They have reached the point where they are at capacity and cannot grow without making some significant changes.  They have not developed a plan for where they are headed and how to get there (vision, strategic plan, and short-term goals), have not developed and documented processes and procedures to bring in new clients efficiently, and they do not have anyone in a role to make sure things (projects, initiatives) are getting accomplished and progress is being made toward the short and longer-term goals.  They are essentially spinning their wheels in the mud!


Focus on three factors to break through the ceiling that is holding your firm back and become a top performing firm.

The three factors top performing firms are very good at, because they spend the requisite time focusing on them consistently, are Discipline, Efficiency, and Accountability. They also build these into the culture of their firm.

Discipline- Top performing firms are very disciplined.  They take time to develop a vision and plan for where they are headed and how to get there. They identify and continually measure key metrics that drive their business. Additionally, they consistently monitor progress toward short and long-term goals on an ongoing basis and make changes when needed.

Discipline is the key success factor for one simple reason: if a firm doesn’t have discipline to set and follow a plan in a controlled and organized manner, none of the other factors will have much impact. The other factors simply won’t matter much if the firm won’t spend the needed time and focus to create positive change. Create a system of doing business in your firm defined by discipline.

Efficiency- Top performing firms have developed and documented processes and procedures for each step in the process in their firms.  They systemize as many processes throughout the firm and constantly strive to automate more steps in their way of doing business. Top performing firms have embedded workflows into their technology to scale their businesses.

Top performing firms also set aside time to implement the technology needed to operate efficiently. Additionally, they supply the needed resources for properly training their employees to fully utilize the required technology to create efficient workflows.

Accountability- Top performing firms consistently monitor their progress toward short and long-term goals (Discipline) and follow through on the Discipline by having a staff member who selects staff to work on prioritized projects and holds each staff member accountable for completing the assigned projects.

In my experience, Accountability is probably the most important factor to making progress and “getting things done” in your firm.  There has to be follow-through and follow-up in order to make progress.  Once your leadership team defines the firm’s priorities for the next quarter, accountability is critical to making sure progress is being made.

Developing a culture of Discipline, Efficiency, and Accountability is not easy. It takes leaders committed to getting the firm to the next level and a thoughtful approach to implementing them into the culture of your firm.  However, if your firm operates with a “DEA” culture, you will break through the ceiling that is keeping your company from becoming a top performing firm.

Build your business wisely.

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