On Company Growth: "But We've Never Done It That Way"

  • Lately, I’ve started to notice the importance of growth at the company where I work. It’s not that being at a growing company has never been significant to me, I've just never worked for a company which values growth in this way and places importance on doing better each year while elevating the quality and quantity of products offered to customers.

This isn’t a slight on any company for which I’ve worked previously. In fact, those companies sought to improve the quality of the products and services being offered as well, but they never seemed to focus on growing revenues and maximizing profits. (This was largely due to their not-for-profit status—one was a humanitarian aide organization and the other a small university which always seemed to be at full capacity.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling my current employer a money hungry revenue-enhancement-machine, either. I bring this up because as we look to grow and expand in terms of new territories, increased market shares, and serving different horizontal and vertical markets simultaneously, one thing is for certain: all options are (and should be) on the table.

A company committed to growing must be open to any and all ideas that could improve that organization’s offerings.

A company committed to growing cannot rely on the motto “but we’ve always done it that way.”

Those just might be the seven most dangerous words an organization can utter. Whether you’re a company focused singularly on improving the quality of your services and products, or a company looking to grow the quality and quantity, it’s important to always look forward, never backwards. Having a “but we’ve always done it that way” mentality limits future success to the way you’ve operated your company, or department, for the last twenty years.

This mentality isn’t just damaging to your company operationally: Limiting innovation, stifling creativity, and frustrating your workforce by failing to adapt can be as catastrophic to your company as stunted growth.

Typically, those attracted to the audiovisual industry are creative, innovative, and agile by nature. Working in a rapidly changing industry where technology seemingly turns over every week, there can be an extreme dissonance when the organization never changes, never adapts, and rarely improves. This can lead to poor employee engagement, which can directly or indirectly affect the quantity, quality, and efficiency of the work put out by the employee—or worse yet, lead to a remarkably high turnover rate. Imagine having to spend money every year onboarding someone for the same position, only to see him or her leave eight months later at the end of their rope, frustrated over a lack of change or transparency. “That’s no way to go through life, son,” as my father would say.

We’ve buried CRT Televisions, mini-disk recorders, S-Video, and so many other antiquated technologies, as an industry, because there are better quality, less expensive, and longer lasting technologies available today. Isn’t it time to also bury our outdated mindset about operating our business for the same reasons?

Mike Brandes, CTS, has over a decade of experience in AV/IT, previously working in full time touring audio, studio recording, broadcast, higher education technology management and video production settings. He is currently an applications engineer at Vaddio. Read more of his writing at http://mikebrandesav.com/.