A New Way of Thinking

Kühn makes headway

What challenges do companies face today when they want to grow?

Ralph Chromik: Growth used to be an organic process in which all of the relevant areas could develop together in sync. That has changed dramatically. Globalization and digitization, project complexities, dynamic growth targets, recruitment and so on … all that is now likely to push entrepreneurs and their management teams further and further away from concentrating on their core business, and/or they get lost in complex operational issues instead of efficiently steering the company’s actual development with enjoyment and confidence.

Niklai Ladanyi: Startups in particular quickly slip into a downward spiral. But it can also affect enterprises that have been around for longer.

The symptoms can vary. They can take the form of too little time for real strategy development and sharing with others. Or an inability to respond properly to changes in the market. They may have healthy figures on paper, but the price they pay for them – a feeling of lost autonomy and dissatisfaction with work and life – is steep. They lose sight of what they and their company really stand for, which employees and customers are actually right for them, and which steps are appropriate. They don’t have the tools for breaking out of this perceived insanity and regaining control. So they wind up investing a lot of energy in good intentions that then grind to a halt due to the lack of a clear culture of implementation.

That sounds awfully strenuous. What’s your solution? How can you help those entrepreneurs extricate themselves from that mess?

Nikolai Ladanyi: In our view, good – in other words, genuine – growth is characterized not only by nominal values, but always also by a completely healthy and therefore lastingly effective balance among all four relevant core action fields and their important interactions.

Where strategy is concerned, we help companies and their teams to be more ambitious, bigger, wider and more audacious in their thinking … in other words, to think more boldly.

Where execution is concerned, we help them understand how to take more precise, focused and concrete action and do so consistently.

It’s also important for them to get the right people on board.

Finally, it’s crucial for companies to stay financially liquid throughout the process.

Ralph Chromik: We leverage our scale up method to help them. Over 40,000 companies worldwide are already successfully working with it. We have also adapted and enhanced it for the German and European market.

Importantly, the approach we take to teaching this method – especially in our Academy – is an exceptionally valuable mix of coaching, learning, sharing and application.

There are lots of consultants and methods out there. What makes you so special?

Ralph Chromik: Formally, we define ourselves as an unpretentious coaching service provider that helps companies achieve above-average growth targets better, faster and more easily. In practical terms, we are like an effective all-round development turbocharger.

We inspire by presenting ideas, recipes for success, theories and so on in an easy-to-understand, practically relevant way. We galvanize our clients by showing them real-world examples of how companies have put this inspiration into practice. And we enable them with simple exercises that let managers apply our concepts, recipes for success, theories etc. just as easily.

Nikolai Ladanyi:

We’re especially good at combining all of the relevant topics in an unusually effective way and very quickly advancing to hands-on action, while others spend eons explaining the theory.

And we like to call a spade a spade (no disrespect intended) and take our clients out of their comfort zone. We never put wolves in sheep’s clothing or take the responsibility away from them. Rather, we support teams in recognizing their own mission and strategy, which all companies and individuals already have deep down, so that they turn into truly excellent teams that not only easily achieve their goals but also grow far beyond them.

What’s in it for the people and brands that let you coach them?

Nikolai Ladanyi: In our estimation, scale up is the only truly holistic method that provides optimally applicable lessons and tools to hungry, dynamically growing companies for efficiently and pragmatically mastering their growth-related challenges.

Ralph Chromik: Practically speaking, this can generate a whole bunch of positive effects for everyone who’s willing to embark on this journey with us.

For example, you achieve top performance as a brand without constantly having the feeling that you’re squeezing blood from a stone.

And you have a list of clear priorities for the next three months.

And both staff and management actively work to grow the company, week after week.

And there’s a clear strategic plan as the basis for making all decisions every day, and everyone on the team pulls on the same rope.

And you climb out of the hamster wheel, stop constantly fighting fires and win back your oh-so-valuable personal freedom.

And everyone at the firm calms down and regains their confidence.

The bottom line is that you get predictable results and have better structures and processes.

Why are growth companies so important?

Ralph Chromik:

We basically love the idea of lifelong learning and development, and therefore passionately support these things. But scale ups also have a very important impact on society.

Our definition of a scale up is a company whose workforce or sales grows by more than 20% annually over a period of three years, starting from a base of more than 10 employees.

A study carried out by the National Economy Council in the U.K. in 2014 explains with striking clarity that growth of only one percent annually at growth companies in Britain would create 238,000 additional jobs and boost the gross value added by £38 billion in only three years. In the medium term, provided that the training gap is closed, this could generate £96 billion a year, resulting in 150,000 more jobs and a total of £225 billion more gross value added by the year 2034.

Nikolai Ladanyi: This untapped potential, more than anything, is what motivates us to guide more companies toward “limitless growth”, ultimately to improve the lot of people in general – also in Germany and the rest of Europe.