Growth Teams is one of those terms that has become increasingly popular in modern business parlance. The term is generally understood to signify a cross-competence team with a very precisely defined objective – such as driving a single KPI in the desired direction – hence the name. Together with the more general practices of ‘growth hacking’ and agile methodology, Growth Teams are a part of 21st-century management practice where speed, agility and experimentation are kings.
Companies often discover that a singular focus on driving a specific KPI over a set period is challenging. Key players might be overwhelmed by operational commitments, organisational capabilities are siloed, and key technical competencies are too few or otherwise engaged.
Growth Teams arose as a direct remedy for these common challenges, endeavouring to work around organisational bottlenecks by assembling a cross-competence task force from in-house and external experts, detaching them from daily operations and tasking them with reaching a specific business objective through any means necessary. The team would contain all necessary resources, enabling it to take independent action and work swiftly. Work would be conducted in agile sprints, emphasising successive loops of experimentation and continuous learning, which would be carefully documented and immediately acted upon. Operating a Growth Team is an art form in its own right, requiring both discipline and creativity.
Successful Growth Teams not only stand out due to their different work methods but also thanks to the quick and sometimes dramatic results that they can deliver. Their independence and precisely defined mandate ensure that they can direct their undivided attention towards the desired objective, while their exploratory approach and quick feedback loops can quickly uncover ways of unlocking growth.
Beyond these immediate, and some might argue well-known benefits, there are some secondary advantages that Avaus has discovered while working with Growth Teams in our client organisations. Though sometimes not obvious, these benefits are well worth considering when determining whether or not a Growth Team might be able to help you reach your goals:
- Growth Teams as a change management tool. Continuous technological advancement, new ways of working and fluctuating customer expectations create opportunities that companies are eager to act upon. Organisational friction and our human tendency to resist change can make it difficult for companies to take decisive action. Transformations and pilot projects often get bogged down and fail to yield convincing results due to a lack of commitment, time or relevant expertise. While Growth Teams are great for pursuing results, they can also be efficient tools for demonstrating the merit of new technologies and approaches. Their results can act as the necessary proof-of-concept needed to get people excited while simultaneously dispelling doubts and addressing misconceptions.
- Growth Teams as rapid ramp-up task forces. Companies often recognise the need to introduce a new capability (e.g. increasing the share of always-on customer journeys vs one-off campaigns). They might also find that the sheer volume of day-to-day commitments makes it hard to dedicate enough time and effort to see this through, increasing the risk of a failed ramp-up and lost investment cost. Growth Teams can be used to provide the necessary added muscle to quickly bring new capabilities online, demonstrate value and onboard personnel. Once the immediate task is done, the team can then be redirected to take on the next challenge (we often find that backlogs are long).
Whether you are looking for expert help in driving a specific KPI, solving a burning business problem, looking for change management support, or need to take a new capability live – Growth Teams might be the answer. We’ll be happy to entertain a conversation around these topics – please reach out, and we’ll take the first step together from there.
Written by Ville Takala