The secret to accelerating your company’s growth


2022 July Newsletter Hero thumbnail fro LDNA blog



When you want to double your revenue, your growth strategy needs to go broader than you think.


We’re hearing it all over the news, as well as in our professional and personal conversations: companies can’t retain employees. On top of that, they can’t fill open positions fast enough to keep up with high churn rates.


The Great Resignation of 2021 left companies around the country — and the world — feeling the sting of this new shift. In the US, more than 47 million people said sayonara to their jobs.



It’s an understatement to say that COVID changed the way we live, and subsequently the way we work. But many business leaders fail to get the bigger point here: we’re not going back to the way things used to be. 


So, how does this “HR issue” affect your company’s growth? Unless you fundamentally change the way you think about attracting and retaining employees, you’ll never be able to double your revenue or scale your business in any sustainable way. 


The workforce is done making compromises. If you want to grow your company, you need to rethink your employee experience. 


Co-creation: The overlooked growth strategy


There’s no way to know what your team is thinking if you don’t ask. Many leaders think that they have all the answers. They often rely on their own beliefs and gut instincts while swiftly shooting down dissenting input.


(These people are the notorious HiPPO, which stands for “highest-paid person’s opinion” or “highest-paid person in the office.” If you haven’t already, check out my rant — I mean newsletter — about HiPPOs here.)


The first step is listening, really listening, to what your employees have to say about what they like, dislike, need, and want from their role and from your company as a whole.

But that’s just the beginning. Once you have that invaluable data, you need to actually invest the time and resources into implementing their suggestions.


This process of asking, listening, and creating together is called co-creation. It’s how you can build the next generation employee experience with employees instead of for them. It’s a continuous feedback loop that needs to be in place for the life of the company so you can always deliver an exceptional employee experience and keep employees around for years.


You know the old saying from Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”


It’s a basic formula:


Happy Employees = Happy Customers = Happy Shareholders


You can have the world’s most clever market strategy. But if you don’t have enough employees to deliver your products or services to your customers — or if they’re miserably clawing their way through the workday — you’re not going to grow.


As Richard Branson said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”


Your employees are the foundation of your business. If they’re not satisfied, it all crumbles.

And, here’s the kicker: what makes them happy will inevitably change over time. Sometimes a little bit, sometimes drastically. You won’t succeed if you’re a dinosaur enterprise, clinging desperately to what used to work.

Just as markets change, so too do labor markets. When you accept the fact that your company culture needs to constantly evolve, you’re clearing your path to success.

To take it a step further, when you’re evolving with the people who make your company what it is, your path to success becomes even clearer.

For many, this requires a fundamental culture makeover.

A redesign of the way your team thinks once they walk in the door (or log into their workspace). 

The way they collaborate and interact with you, each other, and your customers.

The way they handle obstacles and rely on leadership to support them.

The way they talk about your company to their family and friends after the workday is over.

Culture is everything if you want to survive in the long run.

Take a page from Howard Schultz’s leadership playbook

You’re probably familiar with Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO and board member. If you’re looking for an example of how to collaborate with your team, look no further.

Earlier this year, Howard spearheaded a company-wide collaboration project to hear what Starbucks employees had to say. According to a company statement, Howard’s goal is to “help co-create solutions and reimagine the company’s future.”

Howard and other company leaders held focus-group-style events with store managers, assistant managers, and baristas. During these events, everyone’s opinions and contributions were weighted equally.

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These sessions consisted of 3 parts:

  1. Opening. This featured a “Partner Playback” poster that shows what the company has heard and issues that need to be addressed. Examples include a lack of support by leaders, broken equipment, insufficient pay, lack of predictability with their shifts, and misalignment between company values and actions.
  2. Partner-led ideas. All partners come up with ideas to fix the issues that need to be addressed. They write their ideas on sticky notes and post them on the wall. A dot system brings the most-voted ideas to the top of the list for discussion.
  3. Closing. Everyone reflects on the day, with a closing word from Howard.

These co-creation events serve multiple purposes:

  • They help team members feel valued and listened to, which is a morale boost in itself
  • They keep company leaders in-the-know about cultural and labor shifts happening among their employees and our society at large
  • They eliminate deep-rooted assumptions and biases that often cause leaders to steer the ship in the wrong direction
  • They equip leaders with the tools they need to stimulate positive growth within their company

Changing the way an organization works ain’t easy, but it’s what needs to be done

If you’ve been struggling to attract and retain employees, this may be exactly what you need to hear today.

Co-creating with your employees is the best way to make sure you’ll keep them around. It’s not a quick or simple process. It usually isn’t cheap either. 

But it’s an invaluable investment in your company’s sustainability and growth. A growth strategy you simply can’t afford to ignore.

Howard Schultz’s approach is just one way to co-create with your employees. If you want to create a workplace of the future and build a reputation as an employer of choice, send me a message, and let’s talk.