Building a Growth Culture: negative impacts of running growth without support.

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Part 1 —

This week I was talking to a friend who runs growth for a fintech company when he said:

I’ve gotten to sink my teeth into only one experiment since starting 8 months ago as if it was a high tempo test and it absolutely crushed and showed top-line improvements to the KPI it targeted, but I was unable to use that to convince management to give me a few guys for a quarter so I can show them what kind of growth we could be creating if we were moving faster”.

That stuck with me and I went on asking for other friends in the growth level what their experience was and what I learned is: this is definitely in the top 10 biggest challenges a growth team face.

In the State of Growth survey, we learned that up to 80% of the experiments will fail (and that’s ok). So, if my friend mentioned above follows the pattern, he will need 10 years to have a successful experiment done — there’s no way this math makes sense.

Take Twitter’s example, they were able to triple-sized their return after ramping up from 0.5 to +10 experiments/week.

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Scaling Authentic Growth — How Product and Marketing Work Together to Drive Growth

Let’s start with a list of things that will eventually happen if you don’t get the support of your team:

1. Cross-team collaboration is nonexistent; no other team will prioritize your requests. This means that if you need to change something within the product, your deploy will go to the bottom of the queue. If you need a designer from the marketing team to help you with a content piece, wait seated.

2. Risk-taking is discouraged; the most successful experiments look dumb at first (just like startup ideas) and without their support, you will avoid running such experiments and prioritizing the safer ones instead. Problem is, the safer experiments are usually the ones that don’t move the needle significantly. You will end up with minor improvements in every direction as opposed to a big major change in one single direction.

3. Failed experiments are punished; consequently avoided. That’s precisely the reason behind the growth team existence. While you can not allow the whole company to fail in up to 80% of their missions, in a separate environment, the growth team can flourish without the fear of missing out or being punished. If they don’t have this tolerance, you are probably better off without it.

4. Execution capacity is minimum; resources will be scarce, charges will be abundant. you won’t have enough people in your team, not enough money at your disposal and not enough time to let things grow. You might end up like the example of my friend — running 1 experiment in 8 months.

5. Frustration flourishes; the driver behind a growth team should be its willingness to find new stuff, to validate the existing hypothesis, to go after the unknown. Without their support, as none of the prior points are achieved, frustration flourishes not because you are not succeeding, but because you are not even able to try.

6. Validated hypothesis won’t be deployed company-wide: even when you miraculously get a successful experiment validated on a small scale, your finding will likely die crossing the river as the other teams won’t deploy it to a large-scale.

It’s clear what the pitfalls of running a growth team without higher-ups and peers support. But, there’s no simple one-size-fits-all equation every company can use to build a culture and get support. Over the next parts, we will explore how the most successful growth teams have built a growth culture in their orgs in a way that permeates all areas, the decision-making process and prevents you from falling into the no-support-growth-trap.

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Building a Growth Culture: negative impacts of running growth without support. was originally published in Growth Hackers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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