Outgrowing the infrastructure
Francis said PETsMART began with a great idea that met a need in the market, allowing the company to grow very quickly. The problem was that it grew so quickly -- outgrowing its infrastructure -- that "they almost lost it," he says.
Companies can and do grow themselves out of business. In PETsMART's case, Francis recognized what was happening when he was hired as CEO in 1998 and was able to pull the company back before it disintegrated. He put a temporary hold on expansion and rebuilt the operational structure to support the growing enterprise.
He also closed the gaps in support and outlined the type and quality of people required to turn the company around and achieve continued successful growth.
Focusing on employee fit
Francis and his management team understood how important organizational culture would be to the turnaround efforts. They also understood that the company had an opportunity to create a unique pet/family centered culture.
To accomplish this, he changed PETsMART's hiring practices and focused on finding the right employees to fit the culture.
When the company hires into positions requiring a college degree, it doesn't care what that degree is as long as the candidate is the right fit. He has confidence that no matter what the degree, if the fit is right, his team can train the employee in the skills for the job and in the PETsMART way.
This is straight-forward business management - recognizing a problem, developing a solution and implementing it. Too many companies fail to recognize problems until it's too late. But identifying them early on, then making solving them the primary focus, can lead to even more stellar growth than your company experienced before.
Joel Strom is the founder of Joel Strom Associates. His firm works with closely held businesses and their ownership, helping them set and achieve growth objectives while maximizing profitability and value. Reach him at (216) 831-2663 or email@example.com.