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Most organizations inhibit growth. Why? Organizations are set up to protect the status quo, but growth is not about the status quo. As organizations become more complex and more internally focused over time, each can stifle growth. In combination they can be deadly. The strongest core businesses have the muscle to retain their best people, yet the gravitational pull of the core can stem the flow of talent to new opportunities. The natural tendencies of organizations need to be carefully balanced if a company is to achieve sustained, profitable growth.

In a survey of 138 executives, 65 percent listed internal and organizational factors as the most influential reasons that new growth opportunities fell flat. Nearly 60 percent of the executives felt that failing adjacencies were allowed to continue, sapping valuable energy, much longer than they should have been. Organizational issues emerge as the primary barrier to growth goals, ahead of competitive moves, the viability of the plan, adequate resources, and new product performance.

Getting its groove back
Sharing between the adjacency and the core Learn what to consider when determining the best options for organizing a new adjacency
The organizations' concerns that create this barrier to growth fall into three clusters:

  1. Managing linkages between the core and adjacencies
    Often, the relationship between the core and the adjacency evolves over time with experience and maturity. It is important to map out the detailed linkages between the new growth initiative and the core and use the information to decide on organizational structure, relationships and processes.

  2. Organizing for repeatability to exploit the new math of growth
    Taking the lesson of repeatability in growth moves and translating that into how often the organization attacks new growth opportunities, captures the learning, and refines the process for the next one increases the odds that an adjacency move will be successful.

  3. Exiting adjacencies
    More than half of the companies interviewed indicated they believed there was a natural human tendency to let adjacencies go for far too long. Exiting disappointing adjacencies reduces the complexity of management and frees up resources for more productive activities. The active management of exits can also reinforce a culture of performance in an organization.
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