Business coach and advisor, Xavier Lederer, helps business leaders accelerate growth by looking at issues from a different perspective and challenging the status quo.
As a growth advisor for mid-market companies, Xavier Lederer is called in to identify and put out the fires that can become daily distractions to leaders trying to push their businesses from good to great. One of the toughest questions that he poses to executives is “would you enthusiastically re-hire everybody on your leadership team?”
I have been helping companies grow for the past 20 years, in Europe and in the US. I worked for a fast-growing start-up in Europe before coming to the US 10 years ago landing first in California, then in the Northeast. I watched these organizations that had experienced strong growth, and then reached a plateau with additional gains more difficult to achieve.
About a year ago, I made the transition to become a business growth coach. I work with CEOs and their leadership team who are frustrated by their business expansion. Often they lose sleep at night because they are constantly fighting fires and can’t focus on their most important priorities during the day, typically a sign that their company has outgrown their management approach. As a business growth coach, my passion is to help mid-market companies discover the answers to their concerns, which guides revisions and adoption of their governance and implementation plans. They can then evolve faster and with less pain, and can challenge their teams to reach new heights.
Burgeoning mid-market companies experience several growth stages, and each stage requires a different management approach. You don’t manage a five person company like a company with 50 or 500 employees. When the management approach doesn’t adjust as the company grows, growth slows down. This is typically when the CEO says: “I am so knee-deep in the day-to-day operations of the business that I don't have the time to focus on the right priorities to grow my company.” Or, "I have a clear vision for this company but I can’t get my team to follow along with crisp execution and the same level of commitment as I have.” These are symptoms of the same root cause: the company has outgrown its management approach, which creates frustrating growth roadblocks.
There are a number of common roadblocks. The first is the lack of alignment on goals and priorities to reach these goals. The key question I pose to a CEO is: “If I were to ask each of your senior leaders the top 3 priorities that this company should focus on this quarter, how many different answers would I get?”
The second roadblock is poor execution of the strategy and lack of accountability. This roadblock is particularly painful in Covid times, when many employees work remotely.
The third is having the wrong people in the wrong seat. A key question is: “Would you enthusiastically re-hire everybody on your leadership team?”
The fourth is due to lack of cash. Many growing companies have hidden pockets of cash, that they uncover when putting the right people around the table using the right methodology.
The final growth roadblock is due to inadequate processes and systems. Do your processes and systems enhance customer value and experience, and do they enable you to scale up your business – or do they slow down your growth?
There were several motivations for shifting into the executive coaching arena.
First, I am a trained chocolatier and a beekeeper. In both of these environments, I have witnessed how critical it is to scale operations in order to survive and grow. As a prior company president, I was frustrated that I didn’t have a toolkit to help my company grow faster. I had learned the “rational” side of business throughout my career (e.g., strategy, marketing, sales, pricing), but I was reinventing the wheel when it came to addressing the “healthy” side of the business (e.g., ensuring that people are aligned on objectives and priorities, improving company culture, reducing employee turnover). I wanted to help other CEOs and leadership teams go faster through these transition stages.
Second, I gravitated to this environment where the motivation for learning is high and the adoption of new behaviors is happening faster. I am being confronted by multiple situations of companies being stuck at the same stages. In the end, I am able to leverage my expertise, look at a new situation from a different angle, and influence the employee's thinking so that they find unity for successful implementation. As a coach I can extract myself from the weeds of the argumentation, and I can help the team achieve new heights. As a company president, one can be too emotionally involved in the conversation to be able to build the right setting for collective intelligence to do its magic.
There is a legend that as an infant, a swarm of bsettled on the face of Saint Ambrose while he lay in his cradle, leaving behind a drop of honey. His father considered this a s of his future eloquence and honeyed tongue, thereby landing him the reference as patron saint of beekeepers. I launched Ambrose Growth in reference to the critical importance of continuously improving our management approaches and leadership skills in order to successfully scale businesses.
Teams that leverage their collective intelligence can solve seemingly unsolvable problems.
As a hobbyist beekeeper, I have learned that nature is brutal to honeybees. There is much to learn from the intricacies of a successful hive. Bees have learned to scale their operations over a few months in the spring to grow from a few thousand bees to tens of thousands without rocking the boat. Their exponential quick growth comes without pain and drama as this growth is critical to their survival every year.