“Growing Pains. The Art of Scaling Enterprises is a must read for every entrepreneur who wants to grow their business but doesn’t know how (or is afraid to ask). Although it may seem like a textbook, due to the interesting examples and specific tools for solving problems, which are based on the rich professional experience of the authors and many years of research conducted by them, its reading is a pleasure for a business practitioner or theoretician interested in the subject .
There is probably no company that would not like to grow, have more and more revenues (profits), achieve better and better results. Which company would not like to be like the American Facebook, Sturbucks, Wallmart? Most organizations have such aspirations and plans. It is also often the case that the managers and owners of these companies think that since they have managed to start, enter the market with a product, sell and earn money, it is not difficult and that they know how to implement these plans. Unfortunately, specific business cases known to me, as well as statistics, show that this knowledge is not always sufficient or adequate, and very few owners and founders are able to hand over their company to a professional manager at the right moment, as the authors of the publication write about. This is one of the reasons why around 50% of new ventures disappear from the market in the first 5 years. In Poland, 300-400 thousand companies are established each year, but also a similar number of companies stop operating, not living to see the first, second and subsequent years of their business lives. In addition, companies generally grow slowly and statistically there are too many micro (most), small and medium-sized companies. Although there is a relatively large amount of start-ups, their ability to survive is even smaller and only a small percentage of them are able to go through the process from the creation of an idea to a mature organization, where procedures and an organized way of functioning must be introduced. A good product is not everything, the authors write, because there will always be a company on the market that will copy or counterfeit this product. Something more matters. Most companies feel the growing pains, i.e. symptoms of an organization disease. Professor Esic Flamholtz (whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person) and Yvonne Randle in the book give examples of growing pains, but also medicines to minimize or completely eliminate them. They provide specific solutions and answers to the questions probably bothering many interested in the subject of business development – why is it so and what determines that some companies are successful and manage to move from the stage of an enterprise to the stage of a professionally managed company, and others often even after a spectacular success disappear from the market, although they often have a good product? Are there any particular factors that influence this success or failure? The authors of the publication claim that they do and support this claim with the results of their more than 40 years of consulting cooperation with American business. According to them, the key elements of success such as the market, product, resources, operating systems, management systems and organizational culture must perfectly harmonize with each other and an organization that does poorly on any of these elements will experience development problems sooner or later. In the publication you can also find a unique tool – the organization pyramid, which allows you to assess the degree of organizational development. All this makes the book very useful in the daily management of the company.
And one more interesting topic that the authors of the book drew attention to. Reading the book, according to them, requires conceptual thinking and according to them, it is one of the most important skills of a good leader of a growing organization. At the same time, they state that such a way of thinking, which I believe, can be experienced by reading “Growing Pains. The art of scaling enterprises” brings huge benefits not only in business.