When Growth Could Mean Losing It All

As a leader, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve wanted to 10x your business…right? 

What most leaders never consider is that there can be a serious downside to 10X growth. 

I’ve known companies who have done it… and suffered what I call Icarus syndrome” and gone bankrupt. Sometimes that bankruptcy is financial. Oftentimes, the cost is much higher: An emotional, talent or moral bankruptcy from which there is no return. And sometimes in the incessant drive to do more and be more our bodies will start to just shut down.  In fact, Phillip Stutts who is the focus of this article experienced this on all fronts. We talked about how the corporate marketing arm of his own company recently went through an amazing growth phase, and it led to him shutting down growth! Why?

Rather than continue to expand, his team returned to optimizing their processes and ensuring they had the necessary infrastructure to grow with wisdom and maintain their existing clients. Because as he put it; there are far more important things than the numbers.

This article is the result of an enlightening interview with Phillip Stutts, He comes to us from the cutthroat world of political marketing. He’s a political mastermind who has been featured on everything from CNN and Fox to the Gary V Show and has contributed to over 1,200 election victories. He is the author of “Fire Them Now: The 7 Lies Digital Marketers Sell…And the Truth about Political Strategies that Help Businesses Win.” He has done all this while he’s been battling an incurable disease for the last seven years.

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Rushing to grow, or constantly expanding because you saw the “next big thing” coming, doesn’t always serve you. In fact, it can cause you to lose existing clients and surpass the infrastructure available to you. Just because you can grow, doesn’t mean you should!

One of the simple yet powerful insights Phillip Stutts shared with us was to take a pause and consider what you can do to better serve your existing clientele? He suggested that in that pause we need to be realistic about all the realities of growth. Understand that if you significantly and quickly overstep your infrastructure, you will crumble. Long term success is predicated on strategy and planning, not just seizing opportunities.

Disruptive Digital Marketing

When do you need to stop growing? 

I know I can hear you saying “NEVER!” However, my conversation with (political) marketing mastermind Phillip Stutts may have you completely rethinking that. What’s more, you will likely find yourself rethinking many things, including how you can use disruptive digital marketing (which is sometimes a pain-in-the-butt)  to enhance our businesses.

The World is Disruptive

Whatever you do, you have to think like an outlier. Phillip suggested that we consider how we can go where no one else is? How can you transform your industry?

How can you weave strategy and foresight into innovation and expansion?

First of all, you can’t just focus on your own organization’s growth. You have to take the initiative to find out what people actually want, and what their needs are. Once you’ve done that, you can consider what you have to offer that will meet those needs. Phillip reminds us that: Real growth and leadership are not about YOU – it’s about those you serve. 

For example, in today’s world, people want relationships before they will trust you. The old days of telling prospects how great you are are over. They don’t want to just hear about you, and you have to respond to that. Tailor your marketing and message towards authenticity, connection, and opportunities to relate. Think about how your industry could provide something new and innovative, and find a way to connect it to what your people need. Give people something to rally around!

For this to work, you absolutely must understand your ideal customers.
Developing a customer base and having a marketing platform that enables you to understand WHO you’re serving and what they want is absolutely vital. Remember: What someone is willing to say and what they actually value does not always match up. (We see this in the political and voting arenas)

AI; friend or foe?

Phillip shares that intensive data collection is the key to his firm’s success. His company Win Big Media has a unique approach to marketing that uses AI, a data-backed marketing approach that takes the “MadMen” out of marketing and it is ground-breaking! His commitment is to do this with the intent of connecting with people in a real and meaningful manner.

Picking a Wise Fight

One of Phillip’s most successful campaigns came from picking a fight with a soda company. How did that work?

By understanding what their market had strong feelings about, they were able to create a really strong message that inspired and activated their audience. (Most people uninterested in the ad weren’t ideal customers, so their lack of interest was no problem. It wasn’t for them!)

This was done using a comparative ad, and the research has shown that these ads are powerful! Why? Because you’re giving people something to rally around.

Your marketing efforts shouldn’t be about pleasing everyone. They should be about speaking to your ideal clients’ interests. In order to do this, you have to KNOW who that person is!

As someone who teaches that you need both a purpose and an anti-purpose, I love that Phillip is pushing the power of the comparative ad!

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The mic is yours: What are your thoughts on AI and the potential costs of 10X’ing your business?

With gratitude,
Dov Baron, Expert on Leadership, presents his Authentic Leadership Matrix!

My Authentic Leadership Matrix is free this link! Why? Because one of the questions I’m most often asked is; What authentic leadership is and how do we define it? As a result, with years of experience and extensive requests, I created the Authentic Leadership Matrix. It’s designed to give you a clear process of how to perform in each of the five main areas that are required for you to become a world-class authentic leader. Start your yes and no evaluation to discover your leadership traits here: https://matrix.fullmontyleadership.com

Want to retain your top talent? Then my “Fiercely Loyal” book is for you! Plus get your free: “How to instantly bond any team” infographic.

Copyright: Dov Baron International© 2020


  • @TheDovBaron

    Inc Magazine top 100 leadership speaker, Inc #1 Podcast for Fortune 500 Executives, Entrepreneur Mag contributor, Leadership Strategist, Storyteller.

    Dov Baron

    Dov Baron is “The Dragonist”, guiding us in how to recognize and nurture dragons (the top talent) hidden in our organizations. A Dragon Leader is not a position; it’s someone who is always pushing to improve and wants those they serve to reach their full potential.   Dov’s humour and no-BS style is contagious. As a master storyteller, he is considered to be the leading authority on actualized leadership. Actualized leadership means getting the result you set out to achieve in the most meaningful manner.   Working with diverse leaders and executive teams, Dov filters common bonds to create Fiercely Loyal cultures. You can’t achieve loyalty without “meaning”, and talent only stays when they feel they are a part of something larger than themselves.    Besides being a bestselling author of One Red Thread and Fiercely Loyal: How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent, Dov has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers to Hire and as one of the Top 30 Global Leadership Gurus. He has spoken to the United Nations, The World Management Forum (Iran), The New York National Speakers Association, and The Servant Leadership Institute.    In June 1990, while free rock climbing, Dov fell approximately 120 feet and landed on his face. The impact shattered most of the bone structure of his face. After ten reconstructive surgeries, no external evidence remains; however, this experience wasn’t just life-changing, it was completely transformational. Dov shares how Dragons are born in fire. Experiences that could potentially destroy you can, instead, birth purpose, passion, and the hunger to champion others. We can learn to nurture the Dragon Fire in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our companies.    Dov believes the world needs more "Dragon Leaders" committed to living their purpose, standing in their truth, and empowering others to find their fire and do the same.