UK & Ireland
April 2, 2010


I spent some time recently with member businesses at WEConnect Europe talking about high growth. Even trying to define a high growth business is problematic since there are so many definitions and criteria used. The OECD www.oecd.org  consensus is that businesses which achieve annual growth rates in turnover or number of employees of over 20% for three consecutive years should be considered high growth, but for us and our experience in supporting high growth busiesses it is about high ambition and being prepared to take the next step.

Typically, support for high growth businesses focuses on business performance. It is around defining a clear shared vision for the future, developing strong leadership, building operational capacity and capability, and implementing robust control and monitoring processes. It is also about helping businesses overcome growing pains in order to grow up; if that sounds like a child breaking into their teens or a teenager breaking into adulthood, there are similarities. High growth is fundamentally about accelerated change and there are many academic models based on stages of growth, each stage being associated with specific challenges.

Which brings me to the idea of “appetite for change”. Businesses work against a backdrop of constantly changing markets, customer expectations, technology, skills requirements and regulation. They have to be fairly adept at change simply to be in the game. For high growth businesses, that ability and capacity for change has to be increased and managed in a way that can deliver sustainable, long-term performance. I have dealt in the past with a charity which chose to close, rather than face the changes needed to survive as a result of the withdrawal of government funding. That experience taught me an early and very powerful lesson about an organisation’s appetite for change, as well as its ability to change.

Extracted from an Article Written By Sarah Coleman on her blog