For Chris and the Sealite executive team, the first benefit of the program was the opportunity to step outside the day-to-day running of the company and spend three days together during each of the three modules. The time to think and strategise, and the expectation to focus on the business, not work in the business, required new kinds of thinking and collaboration. They also found the Growth Experts, other CEOs and executives from medium-sized growth companies, and the integrated set of tools and programs invaluable.
The Growth Modules, which are part two of the ANZ Growth Modules Program, are comprised of three, three-day intensive modules spread out over nine months, with homework and prep work in between the modules.
During the program, the Sealite team identified what was working and what needed improvement, recrafted their company mission and values, and broadened their vision of what Sealite could become, and identified what would be needed to scale.
Two opportunities were vital to achieving their growth goals. The first was capitalising on the opportunities in the US market. While Sealite had a solid business in the US, the team realised that there was huge untapped potential, and that they needed to move quickly and capture more market share before the competitors did. The second was finding the right balance between selling more of the current Sealite products in the market vs. continually innovating, changing and developing new products. Chris had to transition the company from loving to design new products to loving to sell the products they had designed which is not an easy transition for any company-but essential if the company wants to grow. Chris and the team realised they needed to change the way they had been doing business.
They assessed everyone’s functional performance and fit with the company’s values. Executive team members had to change the way they were communicating, delegating and leading. They realised they were too hands on, and that in order for Sealite to grow, they needed to delegate some responsibilities and focus on becoming more efficient in everything they did–from ordering, manufacturing, design and development, sales, to delivery.
For Chris this meant that he had to pull himself out of being directly involved in every task. He had to focus on communicating, planning, strategy, and coaching his executive team, rather than being at the coalface of the business himself. In short he had to become a different leader than his dad had been.
“A key behaviour change that came out of the modules was changing our management style and having more clarity around our roles. I had to transition from being a ‘doer’ to much more of a leader and coach role.”