Why mid-sized firms need strong leadership infrastructure
Many of the problems that midsized companies must deal with are not obvious; these problems grow out of sight, unrecognised by management until they emerge as full-blown crises that can threaten the present and future of the business, according to Robert Sher in his book Mighty Mid-Sized Companies: How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers.
The seven growth killers identified by the author are: letting time slip-slide away, strategy tinkering, reckless attempts at growth, fumbled acquisitions, operational meltdown, liquidity crises and tolerating dysfunctional leaders. Ultimately, to avoid these pitfalls, you need to build a strong leadership infrastructure, which includes these four elements:
- Quality leadership with deep experience.
- Planning and governance processes that ensure leaders of the company stay on track.
- Information gathering and analytics acumen.
- An effective communications rhythm among leaders, between management and employees, and out to customers and partners.
The book contains compelling stories of mid-sized firms which encountered one of the 7 pitfalls and either suffered severely or died as a result, including the story of one firm which boldly encountered all 7 pitfalls at the same time, yet somehow managed to survive.
As the author has noted, most of the management and leadership literature relates to large firms or small firms, so that the problems peculiar to mid-sized firms (defined as firms having revenue between $10 million and $1 billion) are rarely discussed. This book remedies that omission, and will no doubt have readers carefully scrutinising each growth-killer to see whether it might be a danger to their own firms.