Many executives seem to be fixated on growth. Sometimes that causes trouble. Consider the case of Starbucks, in 2008. In order to return to profitability, they decided to close the most underperforming stores and found out that 70% of them were opened in the last three years. Twenty percent were the newest stores. Not only they were opening stores where there were no need, but in order to meet quotas they were selling unrelated merchandise such as teddy bears. The lesson learned by then CEO Schultz from that episode is very sobering and great advice for those who seek growth at all costs:
“Success is not sustainable if it’s defined by how big you become. Large numbers that once captivated me – 40,000 stores! – are not what matter[s]. The only number that matters is ‘one’. One cup. One customer. One partner. One experience at a time. We had to get back to what mattered most.”
In other words, it’s about the company’s strategy and materializing its higher purpose.
With that in mind, here there are some valuable articles that provide frameworks to think about growth: