If You Are Not Growing,
You Are Shrinking

The Fedcap Group has grown from a $60M company serving 1500 individuals per year in 2009, to a $300M serving over 300,000.

The business literature consistently tells us that continual growth—not merely strong performance—is critical to sustaining a company and to ensuring its long-term success in the market. There is a common misconception that when the fortunes of great companies plunge, it is because of large, external forces—economic meltdowns or government rulings—for which management cannot and should not be held accountable.

Yet an important study involving an analysis of Fortune 100 companies found patterns indicating that a revenue growth stall—a crisis that can hit even the most exemplary organizations—is due to reasons that are both knowable and addressable at the time. The vast majority of growth stall factors tend to result from choices about strategy or organizational design. In other words, growth is in many ways controllable by management.

At The Fedcap Group, we take precise, systematic and inclusive approaches for developing our strategic plan and conceptualizing our organizational framework. It involves both board and staff engagement at every level of the company across each of our five practice areas and includes participants and other stakeholders at scores of The Fedcap Group locations across the country. We make and own our strategic decisions collectively.

Staying Sharp

When it comes to challenges involving company growth, a common pitfall is that management teams can be held back by a long history of success. A company that solidly occupies a premium market position often remains insulated longer than its competitors against evolution in the external environment. It has less reason to doubt its business model, which has historically provided a competitive advantage. Then once a company perceives the crisis, it makes changes too late. Although the onset is gradual, there are often clues that trouble is near.

The Fedcap Group convenes quarterly Corporate Leadership meetings with its board members and the leadership of every one of our companies across each practice area, in which critical topics are analyzed, discussed and addressed in an open forum. These topics have included: risk prevention and management, technology advancements, human capital management, program innovations, strategic planning, exploring new mergers and acquisitions, effectively supporting combinations, and more. These leadership convenings ensure that we take a comprehensive and collaborative approach when it comes to learning, sustainability, innovating and ensuring our attention to growth is at the forefront of our thinking, planning and strategizing.

Another action we undertake to keep our edge is the promotion of a high degree of transparency within and across each of our companies. Financial reports are released on a monthly basis to each of our company leaders. These reports look for trends in revenue patterns. Staff are also expected to consistently utilize SalesForce to manage business development and pipeline reporting. And The Fedcap Group’s CEO and CFO provide a public release of our Programmatic and Financial information twice per year and we publish our release results on our website.

Focus on Innovative Management

The second most frequent cause of growth stalls is innovation management breakdown, which often involves a chronic problem in managing internal business processes for updating existing products and services and for creating new ones. A recent Forbes study saw manifestations of this at every major stage along the activity chain of product innovation. As they looked at the variety of ways in which problems in the innovation management process can eventually produce major revenue stalls, what was most clear was how vulnerable the whole innovation process was to management decisions that were made in order to achieve corporate goals. Most significant was not the overall level of research and development spending but how those dollars were being spent.

Within the Education Practice Area we are focused on changing the long term outcomes for children with disabilities. It is one of our five, agency-wide areas of focus. To advance our success, we decided to implement the evidence-based intervention of Applied Behavioral Analysis in one of our Child Development Programs serving children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The results have been remarkable as children with autism were able to transition out of special education and into mainstream educational settings.

Exploiting Growth Opportunities

The third major cause of revenue stalls is the failure to fully exploit growth opportunities in existing core business. The two most common mistakes are believing that one’s core markets are saturated and viewing current operational impediments in the core business model as a signal to move on to a new terrain. 

At The Fedcap Group, we seek to scale and replicate our tested, evidence based models of intervention. If what we are doing is effective, our intent is to spread it to other jurisdictions. A prime example of this is our WeCARE program. The program model was designed and tested in New York City –with significant results. It served as the basis for expansion of our work to Maine, Washington DC and Virginia.

Looking for Great Talent

The fourth major growth impediment is a talent bench shortfall: a lack of leaders and staff with the skills and capabilities required for strategy execution. What stops growth dead in its tracks is not merely a shortage of talent but the absence of required capabilities in key areas of a company, including at the executive and senior management level. Few companies formally monitor the balance in the senior management team between company “lifers” and newer hires who offer fresh perspectives and approaches. 

At The Fedcap Group, Growth is everyone’s job. Leaders are expected to know their markets.

Source: “When Growth Stalls” by Olson, van Bever and Verry from Harvard Business Review (March 2008).