At FISV we strongly believe in and promote the concept of Mindful Growth: embracing change and nurturing a culture of curiosity. We recently gathered our founders in London to share learnings from across the scale-up journey and were delighted to be joined by Anne Richards, CEO of Fidelity International, who shared her 6 tips for achieving Mindful Growth:
Sometimes you get lucky
When everything is going well, some of it is likely to be because of circumstances rather than skill. And when it’s going badly, it may not be entirely your fault. When leading a business, it is important both to not believe all the hype that comes with success and, similarly, to not be crushed by failure. That resilience is what keeps you going in good times and bad.
Being founder led is an advantage
Having worked in several founder-led businesses, I have noticed a very different mentality in founder-led companies versus those with hired management. Founders have an emotional connection with their business, a desire for success that transcends financial reward and that is immensely motivating. Teams and customers can sense that, and it can give a competitive edge. Lasting growth is built on repeat customers and is far more likely when that sense of care permeates through the business. That doesn’t mean acceding to every customer request, but it does mean delivering what is promised to the expected time, cost and quality, or working through the challenges collaboratively with your clients.
GAMP not GAAP
There has been a meaningful change in the standards to which businesses are being held. Growth at any price – GAAP – is no longer acceptable. Growth must be mindful of more than just the pursuit of profit. It must be achieved after societal costs and impacts are considered. Perhaps we should call it GAMP – growth at a mindful price.
Growing as a leader requires intentional change
You may very well have found your first success as a business leader because of your technical expertise. But to grow successfully, you may have to learn to leave some of that behind. A management team operates by consent, not by edict. The art of successful management is about finding where the areas of agreement are and moving people towards them as rapidly as possible. That’s how innovation, change and transformation happen.
Avoiding unconscious decline
It’s important, as a leader, to remember that obsolescence is a possibility. Survival is never a given – not for the largest company, nor for the smallest. I ask myself constantly: what are our blind spots? Where are we most vulnerable to disruption? What are our competitors doing with technology that we haven’t thought of? That is part of the reason we set up Fidelity International Strategic Ventures as well as an internal Innovation Council. We meet regularly to break out of our siloed groups and raise the strategic horizons of the senior leadership team; recognising that a mindset shift was required has been absolutely crucial to our business.
What does it mean for you?
Mindful growth is personal. Journeys rarely follow a linear and predictable path. There are moments of luck. But, as founders and leaders, it is important to create space in order to develop the resilience to keep going when growth is elusive and setbacks are many.