We have a branch operation at my company that has been stagnant for a few years. We’ve gained a couple of accounts and lost a couple of accounts in the last five years, but overall, the branch has remained flat. This is concerning. While our operations team is solid and the account base is strong, the lack of growth is troubling. As the executive team discussed the issue yesterday, we uncovered three specific risks associated with this stagnancy. If your growth is flat, I want you to consider how these risks may apply to you and your team.
First, lack of growth can be disheartening to your team. Every person at your company has an internal longing for the future to be brighter than the present. They want hope. When growth stops, prospects of the future look dim. Managers and supervisors see no path for career growth and cleaning team members are deprived of advancement opportunities. If you want to build a great company, you need top talent. But if growth is flat, top talent won’t stay for long.
The second concern with stagnant growth is lack of synergy. Ongoing growth has an odd way of creating more growth and opportunities. Your company acts like a living organization constantly reaching in all directions to feed the need. Growth creates growth. On the flip side, stagnancy has a way of inhibiting growth. Momentum is a powerful reality, but when it works against you, the consequences can be fatal.
The final and perhaps greatest concern with lack of growth is the risk of contraction. Losing business is a reality we all will face. While 100% account retention is the goal, experience proves this not always the case. You will lose business at some point. And when your operation is in contraction mode, you work with less confidence, making growth and retention even harder. Desperation can be a motivator, but it can be a cancer as well.
If you find your company in a stagnant phase, invest some energy to turn things around. For the good of your team, your customers, and your company, you must always be in growth mode. You are either growing or dying. There is no middle ground to be had.