Time to democratize growth ideas in your company.
As a company grows in the number of employees, access to information usually shrinks. That’s just a normal maturation process that every company goes through and adapts itself to. However, this conformity usually limits a highly underappreciated benefit of open information flow: access to valuable insights.
When you are a one-table-size company, everyone exchanges knowledge pretty easily; there’s no need for a communication app or formal process if everyone hears you loud and clear (even when you don’t want them to). At this stage, the salesperson is constantly giving product ideas, the product person is constantly giving marketing ideas, the customer service person is constantly giving financial ideas, and so on…
As the company gets more and more desks, this constant flow of growth ideas gets lost as people become more specialized in (and responsible for) a single part of the whole. Blinding everyone else around them — which doesn’t mean they couldn’t add value, it just means they don’t feel entitled to do so.
i.e. In our content marketing strategy, our most successful posts usually came from a topic suggestion of our sales team. That’s no coincidence. Think about it: the sales team is talking to potential customers all day long, and they hear their questions, their concerns, their worries. Who better than the frontline to tell the backline what’s going on over there?
That’s the reason behind the first step of growth hacking being Create a Huge Backlog of Growth Ideas!
By doing so, you are not only skipping the responsibility of coming up with one all on your own but you are also:
- Giving every employee a voice and a chance to speak up: everyone wants to be heard, and by being heard they feel valued. By feeling valued, they feel part of something bigger. And by being part of something bigger, they produce and give more.
- Different background ideas: the part of the person you get to know during an interview is just a surface of the experiences this person has been through. By democratizing access to growth ideas, you are gathering experiences and ideas from different backgrounds, enriching your backlog with a variety of skillsets.
- Growth as a whole: the biggest issue preventing your company from growing might not be acquisition or retention. It might something else. Something like hiring (which your growth team could easily help) or product (a new feature or a UX improvement);
- Evenness: new and not-so-experienced members usually feel like it is not their place to share their thoughts, but their unbiased views of processes might be just what you need to see things out-of-the-box.
Therefore, although the burden of coming up with growth ideas is something to be shared among everyone, the responsibility of sorting them all out based on different criteria and prioritizing what goes into production in this sprint falls under the growth team umbrella.
However, for all of this to work, the whole company must understand that they CAN and SHOULD suggest ideas. If they’ve never had a formal way to do it and it was not a common practice before, chances are they will feel like that’s not something for them or, even worse, they might feel like if they suggest an idea that goes bad, it will be their fault.
You need to make crystal clear to them all that there are NO downsides. If the experiment goes wrong (which 70% statistically will), they won’t be blamed for it. However, if the experiment goes well (besides paying off for all the bad ones) they will be awarded for it, maybe even become the new project-owner of that.
In other words: no downside, only upside!