A fast-growing, founder-led software company had just gone public and was transitioning from scrappy startup to scalable public tech company. Shortly after their IPO, they told Wall Street they would reach $1B in revenue within three years. However, despite strong momentum and positive press, the executive team didn’t have a clear strategy to reach their growth goals, which created unrest and confusion throughout the organization. To further complicate matters, the executive team was misaligned on the business’ fundamentals, disagreeing on things like the definition of certain customer segments. They knew they needed to not only create a growth strategy that reflected their market, customers, and competition, but also get alignment and drive ownership throughout the organization. The company collaborated with BTS to help create a new strategy that the entire organization could rally behind and truly own.
BTS developed a three-fold approach to help the executive team and broader organization define and align around a future growth path.
- First, BTS designed a series of working sessions with the executive team to define the potential strategic alternatives, modeling possible decisions to make the alternatives real and tangible, prompting debate and discussion, and ultimately ensuring alignment within the group. The first step was getting clarity on which approaches to pursue. We worked directly with the executive team and co-founder/CEO to define three different, mutually exclusive, strategic approaches. We then engaged the executive team to help them better understand current state realities, determine potential risks, and solidify the ideal execution plan. This enabled the executive team to split into sub-teams and explore each of the different strategies, their tradeoffs, and the most feasible way forward with each. The sub-teams then shared their findings with the broader group, so the full team could engage and help delineate the benefits and challenges of each approach. This made it clear to the entire executive team how many customers they would need to target to achieve their growth goals, codified which plans were realistic to implement, and clarified how their individual roles would be impacted by the potential strategic shifts. “Making the strategy real” helped the executive team truly understand the tradeoffs and align on a path forward that all executives could support.
- Next, with the “path to $1B” strategy more defined, BTS created an experience to help the top 75 leaders translate this new strategy into action by aligning leaders to this strategic direction and asking them to own how to bring that strategic vision to life with their teams. These top 75 leaders went through a robust three-day simulation where they were prompted to explore and better understand the new strategic approach, including how their roles might change because of the strategic shift and how to get their own teams on board. This interactive experience created alignment and generated excitement about the possibilities of success. It made space for these leaders to discuss the challenges they would face and to brainstorm potential solutions with thinking from the broader group. This experience provided the right conversations and helped this group build a common language and framework around the new strategy, ensuring they were able to own it and effectively take action against it.
- In the final phase, BTS designed and ran a series of working sessions to empower the broader organization to discover and explore the new strategic direction while making the time and space for feedback and communication back to leadership. Employees around the world participated in a one-day workshop that featured key learnings and messages along with some unsolved challenges that came from the previous two groups. The experience helped the organization at large experience this change within the context of their own day-to-day responsibilities, ensuring that they not only understood the new strategy but adopted a new mindset moving forward. In addition, by asking them to solve some of the challenges within their direct teams, teams became drivers and owners of the new approach.
As a result of this work, our client was able to make the transition from startup to scalable company, hitting their $1B target faster than they had initially promised investors. The approach enabled the executive team to select, align, and evolve their company’s strategy to an actionable state. The subsequent experiences equipped employees to put the new strategy into action with greater confidence, clarity, and structure. The top 75 leaders felt empowered to take responsibility for the plan with the organization behind them. With clarity and widespread change adoption, employees understood both the necessary organizational behaviors required as well as the shifts in expectations. Because they were involved in the process, all employees felt ownership over their roles and were excited to execute on the new direction. This change had a lasting effect on company success and has even been codified in several leadership behaviors that are now core aspects of the company culture.