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Mark Jacobs


Mark B. Jacobs has spent 30 years in executive leadership successfully guiding major growth initiatives – many starting as turnaround efforts. He has led re-capitalizations, start-ups, and key organizational change agendas that have scaled company growth and performance. He co-authored the SmartScale process which is built on his years of hands-on experience and expertise in Lean Manufacturing, Quality Systems, Sales & Operations Planning, Category Design & Development, Leadership Development, and Technology-Driven transformations.

Why midlife companies don't scale

Part 2

Here’s why you need to know this: It will reduce the time and cut down on the cost of learning how to scale your mid-life, middle-market company.

Here's the takeaway: if any of the “7 Barriers to Scale” apply to your middle-market company, you aren't going to scale - let alone grow profitably:

  1. We compete in a market - instead of capturing a category.
  2. We believe we understand our market. But we do not have research that gives us deep insight into the aspirations of our most loyal/valuable customers.
  3. We do have deep insights into the aspirations of our most loyal/valuable customers, but we don't have the processes, tools, or skills to act on that information.
  4. We don't have the processes, tools, and skills to gather or act on the information about the most loyal/valuable customers - because our leaders' perspective of what it takes to succeed is constraining organization exploration, learning, and experimentation.
  5. We don't have the awareness, knowledge, or skills to identify our process and operating deficiencies, resulting in systemic challenges that make it impossible to scale until those process and operating shortcomings are corrected.
  6. The culture has learned to be defensive, frustrated, and resistant to change.
  7. The leader/owners don't understand that culture is a reflection of leadership.

What to do: Simple answer: remove the barrier(s).

How to do it: Most midlife companies can`t do this by simply hiring an internal resource to craft and execute a scale plan. Insiders get trapped by internal politics, redirected into working in the business - as opposed to on the business - and do not have the decision rights necessary to make required changes.

Scaling a midlife company is an insiders/outsider collaboration and process:

Outside resources bring experience, coaching temperament, collaboration skills, and scale tools/protocols.

The insiders have the leadership skills, decision rights, vision, passion, and collaboration skills to unlock and steer individual and organizational achievement.

Go Deeper: If you want greater detail about how to scale your midlife business, check out The Mid-Life Business Acceleration Story: A New Perspective on Disruptive Transformation and Exponential Growth

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