How risk, reward and the rearview mirror can help grow your company

Remember this figure: 95.16 percent. Before I explain, I’d like to take a moment to speak to everyone who’s working the risk to bring on the reward. I know you because I’ve heard you invoking the mantras along with me: No guts, no glory, swing for the fences and seize the day. I know you because while I’m staring down the horizon, I see you laser-focused on the exact same thing. I know you because even though our work varies wildly, the common denominator is our sprint toward the next right thing. 

You and I saw a need in the marketplace and didn’t just fill it — we fulfilled it. We created something solid, something high in quality and something unique enough to set us apart from the pack. We paid close attention to every single detail, every single day. Then we opened it up, let it run and became subject matter experts on rapid growth.

So what does 95.16 percent signify? It’s the percentage increase in revenue Our Lady of the Wayside experienced between its 2012 and 2019 budgets. What do I think is next? The rearview mirror. 

Wayside’s 2019 strategic plan is well under way and the call to action is, “Back to Basics.” It’s a catchphrase that puts the typical intent of a strategic plan on its head by challenging everyone to mindfully deconstruct strengths instead of shoring up weaknesses. We’re going to be playing Wayside’s greatest hits all year. Here’s a look at each hit on the playlist and how it can help you make stronger plans for your business.

  •   Minimization of distractions — Shutting out noise and training your focus on your core business should keep you from getting lost in the sauce. It’s time for a little corporate existentialism.
  •   Healthier strengths — Rapid growth is built on the foundation of an organization’s strengths. Those strengths deserve a thorough well-check. Going back to basics will ensure your foundation is healthy and ready for even more growth. 
  •   Broadened perspective — The default setting for any entrepreneurial mindset is looking to the future — which is a very good thing, until it isn’t. Digesting the lessons learned between where you came from and the moment you’re in now is vital. Otherwise, you’re likely working harder instead of working smarter.
  •   Getting comfortable with “the why” — The M.A.S.H. unit chaos that comes with rapid growth can breed inefficient systems. Taking a hard look back means evaluating those systems and being willing to have the tough conversations that happen after someone raises their hand and says, “How come … ?”
  •   Workin’ our groove — Yes, rapid growth has allowed Wayside to serve more people with developmental disabilities than ever before. But I believe it can also let your corporate culture get a little flat. Going back to your roots will help you identify the qualities that distinguish your organization.

Terry Davis is president and CEO at Our Lady of the Wayside