Digging Deeper for Growth: Part 2 of the “Right SEED”

Blog 10292015

In last week’s post, “Are You Planting the Right SEED for Growth?”, we discussed the challenges of achieving business growth, and how in business – as in nature, our probability of success depends highly on our ability as leaders to plant the right SEED.

At the end of the post, I shared what I have come to trust as the “optimal SEED” for growth which when planted effectively, can dramatically improve the probability of success and maximize outcomes.  Here are the 4 parts again:

  •       S – Setting Your Goals 
  •       E – Evaluating Your Market Potential 
  •       E – Exploring Strategic Alternatives
  •       D – Deploying Resources

Today I want to share more about the first two parts including their Purpose & Deliverables, Typical Activities & Approaches and Common Pitfalls.

S – Setting Your Goals

Purpose & Deliverables

The saying goes:  “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.  This first part of the SEED framework is all about establishing a roadmap for your business growth journey.  It clearly sets goals to move the organization from where it is today, to where it needs to be in the future.

This phase establishes and maintains 3 key goals that drive the organization:  1) VISION – a picture of the future state. 2) MISSION – a concise statement of why the business exists and who it seeks to serve  3) OBJECTIVES – quantify desired outcomes so that progress can be tracked & measured.

Typical activities & approaches

In working across a wide range of businesses, I have seen a lot variation in the approach to this phase.  Some businesses dedicate a significant amount of time and money – sometimes retaining outside consultants – to develop or revise these.    Once complete, they are rolled out to the organization and leveraged into marketing planning and branding efforts.  For these businesses, it is also typical to reevaluate the goals during each year’s annual planning cycle.

On the flip side, I see many organizations who spend very little or no time on these efforts.  In some cases, the businesses have legacy goals that they’re sustaining.  In others, they simply don’t see the value in the exercise.

Common Pitfall

Regardless of the approach, however, one common pitfall consistently hinders growth in this step:

Failure to gain organizational alignment and engagement with the goals.

A roadmap is only worthwhile if the driver uses it.  In the same way, no matter how much effort is put into developing goals, success is measured by how well you facilitate organizational engagement.   As leaders, we have to find ways to not only develop the right goals, but drive alignment and engagement as well.

E – Evaluating your Market Potential

Purpose & Deliverables

Your business grows when the market for your product or service grows.  While we have high control over our product or service offerings, we simply don’t have control over our market.  That’s why this second part of the SEED framework is so important.

In this phase, our probability of success is greatly affected by how well we: 1) understand the history of our target market, 2) navigate current market challenges and 3) anticipate future market shifts.

Typical activities & approaches

Businesses that don’t have some understanding of their markets, don’t stay in business very long.   That’s why most companies employ marketing & research resources to monitor this information ongoing.  Many even take the time to deploy marketing tools (Porter 5-forces, SWOT, etc.) to segment their markets, target their position in it and track it over time.

Common Pitfalls

But while using tools and market analysis efforts are critical to growth, I frequently see two common pitfalls that inevitably derail growth in this phase:

Failure to challenge our assumptions  – AND – Failure to anticipate market changes

 Too often, I’ve seen market analysis interpreted falsely as “static fact” rather than “variable assumption”.   Unfortunately, this can lead to business complacency and missed market signals.  I’ve also found that the more market history an organization has, the more potential blind-spots it has to overcome.  As leaders in this phase, our growth probabilities climb when we not only enable effective analysis of our markets, but also challenge assumptions in ourselves and our teams.



If “you reap what you sow”, the first two parts of the SEED framework ensure you effectively plant two things:  1) clear goals that align and engage the organization and 2) insights to win in the market.

Next week, I will breakdown the last two parts of the SEED framework:

E – Evaluate Alternatives
D – Deploy Resources

In the meantime, don’t guess at what your probability of success is today.  Instead, I created a  FREE “SEED Self-Assessment” tool to help you do just that.  This short assessment will both determine the strength of the SEED you’re planting and point you to areas for improvement.   Just click on the picture below to start.

Screenshot 2015-10-20 13.19.03


QUESTIONS: How have you generated organizational alignment for your goals? How do you challenge market assumptions in your team? Share your experiences & answers with me below.

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If you would like help in planting the right SEED for growth in your organization, please contact  Jill for more information.  Also, check out our website to read more content & learn about our services and successes.    

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