Pursue Growth: Chasing Sustained, Powerful, Recognizable Growth
Clark Morgan leads the Online Marketing Team efforts at North Star. Clark understands and chases sustained, powerful, recognizable growth internally and for our client partners like nobody else on our team.
How Would You Define Growth?
Growth has been something that has fascinated me since I was a little guy. I think it started back in middle school with lifting weights and just being amazed at how our bodies can grow bigger and stronger with the right combination of stress, nutrition, rest, and time. Helping people and businesses grow has become a passion for me, but it has also been one of the most challenging areas of my life.
I’ve learned that growth can mean a lot of different things to people depending on who you ask. For some companies, it gets boiled down to more clients; increased profits; and making the company bigger. These are all important, but they’re really the indicators that show us growth has occurred. The real growth itself happens out of sight, under the skin.
True Growth Isn’t Just Results
I think true growth is a commitment to the on-going process of creating and demonstrating more value. It’s an internal commitment that overflows in a visible way. I think this is as true for groups or companies as it is for individuals. My thinking here grows out of my Christian beliefs that we are all created in God’s image with the ability to create valuable things that are good and helpful for others, not just ourselves. If we really believe that, and commit to that process, then the fruits of growth — the increases in company depth, client base, and profits — those things are more often than not the result.
I think everyone wants to grow, no matter what their religious perspective might be. And I think most people would agree that companies can only grow as their people do and that helping one another in this process is critical.
What Makes This Kind of Growth So Important?
Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, was a business leader who really understood this dynamic. Andy Stanley tells a boardroom story about Cathy that illustrates this well. The story starts with a group of young visionary leaders at Chick-fil-a that were in a frenzy, trying to devise a growth strategy to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors who were rapidly expanding. They were convinced they needed to grow bigger just as fast as their rivals. In the midst of their discussion, Truett, who had been silent, began pounding his fists on the table. Everyone was shocked because this was out of character for him. Once he had everyone’s attention, he proceeded to say:
“I’m sick and tired about all this talk about getting bigger. If we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger.”
I mention this story because the kind of growth we’re pursuing together at North Star is not motivated by a desire to get bigger. That would be like trying to workout while focusing on a picture of yourself in the shape you want to be in a few years. Instead, you’ve got to focus on form, and this repetition — and another, and another — and trust that the growth will happen over time with the right process in place.
What It Looks Like: How We Pursue Growth at North Star Marketing
That’s why we focus on the growth of people, teams, processes, and our organization as an interdependent whole. And that means we have to embody all our other core values, beginning with a commitment to excellence. When our individual team members grow in their commitment to excellence, they write stronger copy, create better designs, and improve their working relationships with clients. Collectively, this fuels the growth of our team.
We actively look for opportunities to praise the excellence we see in one another’s work at departmental meetings, annual reviews, or in a hallway conversation. When we pursue one another to call out the excellent things someone has accomplished, we are actively promoting the true growth I mentioned. We seek to do this with all our core values; weaving them into all our processes and every corner of our company culture.
As our people grow and we strive to get better together, North Star will continue to grow in a healthy way that makes the most difference, and creates the most value, for our client partners. The pursuit of growth is a core value at North Star that supports all of our other core values, but it has a special connection with the ways we Push for Clarity. As we experience growth and see its fruits, what’s true, effective, and valuable becomes more clear.