The Three Speeds of Growth

When I speak to business owners about the 7 Stages of Growth model, sometimes they’ll say that they are not in fast-growth mode. Growth can take on many forms, and ultimately, the CEO defines what growth means for their company. You may choose to move through a specific Stage of Growth at three different paces. Here they are:  

The Cruiser Modality

This is a slow pace with almost no chaos. With the cruiser modality you may spend anywhere between 3-10 years in any particular stage of growth. Momentum and complexity factors are low. Growth is driven by market demand more than anything else.

The company in this modality is considered a mature company, where systems are proven and patterns are predictable. Its new product to market cycle averages 12 months to 2 years and the rate of change is low.     

The Developer Modality 

The time in this modality is from 6 months to 1.5 years. During this period, the chaos and momentum in an organization, as well as the complexity factor are moderate. Growth is driven by market demand, but the nature of a company is very dynamic, making it more difficult to manage. 

Even though patterns in the company are not predictable, they are still measurable. The new product cycle for a developer pacing is about 6-12 months. The rate of change and chaos is moderate.

The Accelerator Modality

The Accelerator company is in rapid growth. Chaos is high most of the time. Accelerator companies move through the Stages of Growth at an extremely rapid pace, anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Momentum and complexity are high, because many people are being hired at a rapid pace. Remember, according to the 7 Stages of Growth, complexity increases as you add people to the company.   

Accelerator companies are driven by competing market forces and outside funding sources that want to see results quickly. The competitive market moves at light speed and the outside forces are driving this company to grow very quickly. The new product to market cycle is from 3 to 9  months.

Instead of being mature like a Cruiser or dynamic like a Developer Company, the nature of an Accelerator company is explosive. If you have moved through 2 or 3 Stages of Growth real quickly in that mode, you will need to slow down to a Developer mode to stabilize the organization and limit the damage that is inevitable with a consistent Accelerator modality.   

Companies that grow too fast have to put the brakes on so they can adjust their infrastructure and get their people issues addressed. As the CEO, you can choose how fast you want to grow and the Stages of Growth rules are designed to help you make that decision. 

Need help with navigating business growth or leadership coaching? Contact Mission Critical Teams.