It Takes A Team
To Scale Up
s I’m writing this article,
Justin Thomas has just
broken through and won
the PGA Championship,
one of golf’s four major
championships. As he thanked his
swing coach, his putting coach, and
all the other coaches who had helped
him, he reminded us that no one ever
achieves peak performance without a
coach, whether in sport or in business.
“THIS WAS ONE OF THE
KEY PRINCIPLES KEITH
IN THE RESEARCH THAT
BECAME HIS BOOK, THE
He found that for every company that
broke through to scale up and become
an entrepreneurial enterprise, there was
a transition from relying on its own ideas
to enlisting best practices from people
outside the company. Says McFarland,
“These (outside) groups provided the
company with support, perspective, new
ideas, and tools and helped hold the firm
accountable to achieving their vision.”
He found that breakthrough companies
had surrounded themselves with outside
resources to help them scale up, whereas
the comparison companies who had failed
to scale up successfully were more insular
and less eager to form real partnerships
with people outside the firm.
My personal business experience,
my coaching experience, and my
observation and study of successful
companies all agree with McFarland’s
findings that it takes a team to scale up.
Here are 10 reasons why when scaling a
company, CEOs should adopt the team
approach by using a coach:
1. You’ll scale up faster, cheaper,
and with fewer mistakes. A
coach is like a co-architect who
specializes in growth companies.
2. You’ll avoid reinventing the
wheel. The coach brings the
process, tools, and experience to
help you achieve your vision.
3. You’ll get the coach’s candid,
independent, outside perspective
on your company.
4. You’ll implement a proven framework
of best practices that you can use forever.
5. You’ll be leveraging the brainpower
of your management team.
6. You’ll be building the skill level
and commitment of your team.
7. You’ll improve the level of financial
literacy and performance of your team.
8. You’ll uncover and solve your
real issues, not their symptoms.
9. You’ll get clear goals and accountability
throughout your company.
10. You’ll get everyone on the same page.
While working as an executive in two
high-growth entrepreneurial firms, I
experienced firsthand the value that
external perspectives brought us. Now
as a certified coach with Gazelles
International, I’m obviously a believer in
the value of coaching, but coaching is
not for everyone. There is a fascinating
paradox which is best summarized by
this Douglas Adams quote:
“HUMAN BEINGS, WHO ARE
ALMOST UNIQUE IN HAVING
THE ABILITY TO LEARN FROM
THE EXPERIENCE OF OTHERS,
ARE ALSO REMARKABLE
FOR THEIR APPARENT
DISINCLINATION TO DO SO.”
Translation: We can learn from others, but
some choose not to. This paradox was
confirmed by a Stanford University study
that found while almost 100 percent of
CEOs believed coaching would help them
and wanted a coach, only about one-third
actually used a coach. Surprised? I’m not.
My view is that coaching is a winning move
used by progressive-minded leaders,
and unfortunately, they are always in the
Richard (Rick) Holbrook is a Trainer and Certified
Coach with Gazelles International. He works
with CEO’s to help them create an executable
growth strategy that everyone in their company
understands and is aligned with. Rick has worked
with more than 70 companies in Western Canada
since leaving the corporate world in 2004.