As role boundaries blur and businesses go lean, company hiring is going through some pretty radical changes.
Labels are becoming irrelevant, designations are being re-invented and roles are going hybrid. At the core of it all lies the all-consuming focus on Growth. That’s right – Growth is now the sole Holy Grail of business – not just of startups but for big organizations too, who are eyeing these developments on the ground closely, and showing keen signs of leaning-in. Almost all other KPI’s have been relegated to playing second fiddle.
This obsession for Growth has thrown up a collateral challenge : Who’s going to build this Growth? Do you need to cobble together a special Growth Team? If yes, whom would this team comprise?
For this, we need to understand the new prism we are looking at Growth through, and the connotations it carries. In today’s start-up environment, the responsibility of growth isn’t concentrated in a few hands. As silos disappear, teams are being designed without much respect to traditional functional disciplines.
At the heart of this rests the fact that Growth is today much more than just machinations taking place within the quote marketing department unquote. It is, in many ways, an extension of the product itself. So anybody who aspires to be on a Growth Team must be deeply in love with the product, first.
It is also critical to keep in mind that a Growth Team is essentially an outcome of a Growth Culture. The kind of emotional ecosystem that survives on cohesive approaches, cross functional collaborations, agile idea exchanges, pilot testing (iterations), mutual respect and transparency.
Most importantly, the Growth Team should never look at Growth in short term metaphors – the code needs to be cracked for the marathon, not the sprint.
The missions a Growth Team is expected to achieve are smoothening of conflict, fluidity of thought & action, and perceived value multiplication for customers. The team that a company on boards as the custodian of its growth endeavours should, therefore, be competent to address these issues adequately from all angles.
A modern Growth team’s primarily task and responsibility – and this is important to know in order to be able to fit talent to role correctly – is split into two: growth prospecting and growth mining. In other words, figure out where the treasure lies buried, and then, start unearthing it. The two will, of course, require different set of skills and approaches.
As you mix and match combinations and compatibilities for the Growth Team concoction that feels right for your business, some of the roles you can start with are those of a data analyst, growth hacker (this is a hybrid between a digital marketer, a performance marketer and a, for lack of a more accurate term, a visionary), marketing lead, content spoc (which will include social and video), project manager and full stack developer.
The ideal Growth Team will feature personalities and traits like risk appetite, creative thinking, curiosity, analytical reasoning, agility, versatility, hustle-ability, a love for testing, plain robust common sense and customer empathy. Of these, it is the last one that separates Growth teams that are merely good from those that are truly great. “How can I make the end-user smile?” should be the one big itch getting members of your Growth Team out of their beds every morning.
When you get down to designing a great Growth Team, be prepared to ask the right questions. What is the optimum working model for your organization? Do you want your Growth Team to function in its own universe, managing its own resources and living independent of the rest of the organization? Or do you want it to report to a specific functional head (like, say, product, engineering or marketing)? Does your Growth Army need generalists (data driven ‘jack of all trades’) or specialists (hunch driven deep divers)?
How do you segregate the right answers from the wrong ones? Factoring these into the equation will help: The stage your company is in. The metrices you consider important. The big purpose you are pursuing. The kind of resources you command. The values you stand for. Whatever works best for you – in the light of these very personal variables – is the right answer.
The big picture of a Growth team emerges gradually, as one adds up the little snapshots. . Connecting all these dots can seem daunting at first, but with patience, it’s achievable. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. Remember that building-in the right mix of talent is essentially a creative exercise (a bit like your favourite board game) – and done in the right spirit, can be enriching, fun, and a reward in its own right.
As long as there are people who live the product, breathe the customer and have a single minded focus on betterment (with one eye firmly on the numbers), you’ve got the team you need to move the needle.
And get growing.
DKODING GROWTH TEAMS
A Growth Team doesn’t exist on paper.
You need to create it.
By gathering around like-minds and kindred-souls who share your vision of betterment at all cost.
It’s the hardest thing in the world.
And the easiest.