+61 2 91887292 adam@adamcallender.com

2021 The Year of Unconventional Growth

Easing back into work at the beginning of the year.  I caught up with a client as they returned to work at their office. Last year, we had co-created some plans for out of the box expansion and there was appetite from within the organisation for my perhaps unconventional approach.

This initiative was to go in and help reframe, to look again, to explore, to create activities that opened doors for growth. Oh yes, and to agitate, wrangle, challenge, cajole and confront opportunities for growth. To venture across divisions without WIIFM ruling, by delivering personal development and growth at the same time.

Managing Risk

To look outwardly and ask how? To be catalytic, to unlock the knowledge within. There are a lot of clever people working there, thinking in conventional ways.

Disruption via the pandemic has visited and looks like it will stay this year as well. Decision making was hard to find from their clients last year and the pipeline had slowed. Alas, it is too late to invest in unconventional growth.

I feel like I have failed, that I had let them down. Had we come up with the ideas, the plan a year earlier, perhaps the disruption would not have been so impactful. Through successful focus on markets ignored, with lower market share, may provide the growth needed to offset the delays the challenges in their established high share markets.

An enduring lack of paranoia, of overconfidence, can meant that we don’t go out of our way to find growth. Growth that takes time and energy. To be stubborn and persistence in unconventional growth.


Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller wrote last year:

‘Imagination the capacity to create, evolve, and exploit mental models of things or situations that don’t yet exist is the crucial factor in seizing and creating new opportunities, and finding new paths to growth.  Imagination is also one of the hardest things to keep alive under pressure. Companies that are able to do so can reap significant value. In recessions and downturns 14% of companies outperform both historically and competitively, because they invest in new growth areas’.

I wish my client was one of the 14%. I genuinely do, it would make our work a lot more fun. To talk about surging growth, rather than struggling. It is hard for proud people. Previously, I have had to work with in year-on-year declining budgets, cost cuts and head count reduction, it is anything but fun. Finding significant cuts in SG&A every six months is painful and customers, the lifeblood of the business, can be the biggest losers.

Start Early

What if we had started digging in 18 months ago, when times were good? To have been less certain about the growth trajectory, to push harder for success in markets that had not had their potential unlocked. To be sure, there has been a remarkable track record of success in key markets so far this millennium. Thus, giving confidence that we can replicate this in the future.

It creates enduring fear and makes us look over our shoulders. Our best work is done when we are open minded and expansive. The reverse is true when we are afraid. Our fight or flight mode can take hold. It is very limiting, and growth is elusive in this mindset. If can be an enduring downward cycle.

For 2021, I hope that you find your unconventional growth, to try something different, to make a commitment to find it.

Happy to discuss if desired.



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