Since then, as chairman and CEO, Green has grown the Columbus company to a staff of 42 with projected 2006 revenue of $19 million.
Lancaster Pollard provides investment banking, mortgage banking and financial advisory services to community hospitals, senior living organizations and affordable housing providers. With a business plan that focuses on steady geographic expansion, in the last several years, the company has doubled the size of its downtown office space and opened offices in Denver, Atlanta, Kansas City and Austin, Texas.
Smart Business spoke with Green about how he has created a business plan and how he gets employees to buy into it to create a growing, thriving organization.
How do you plot your company’s growth?
You need to develop a comprehensive plan that anticipates growth. If it happens upon you without sufficient planning, then you can be faced with challenges that you didn’t anticipate.
My partner and I sat down and anticipated what might happen. It’s an ongoing, evolutionary plan. You don’t sit down five years ago and proclaim that you’re going to have the kind of growth that we’ve enjoyed. In fact, we reassess it every year.
How do you get employee buy-in?
Associates like to be a part of a winning team. Growth, profitability and outward signs of progress, of being a part of a winning team, are contagious.
Getting associates to buy into growth is not difficult to do because they’re excited about being part of a growing, thriving organization.
With growth comes opportunity. That’s what we have sold to our associates. Each associate has an opportunity to build an organization underneath them, and that can be very intoxicating.
How do you communicate that to them?
We bring all of our people into the headquarters four times a year. We lay out what we did last quarter and what we anticipate doing the next quarter and the rest of the year.
We talk about strategy, expansion, new hires and new products. We bring them along each step of the way so they feel as much like it’s their plan as it is senior management’s plan.
Several years ago at our year-end meeting, I used the analogy at that time we had 20 employees that we were 20 people, sitting around a potter’s wheel, shaping this product into whatever it was going to be. Every employee’s fingerprints [and] influence on the shape of that piece were going to be revealed at the end.
They feel as if this is their company. They help to shape it, so they get inspired by that.
What factors do you need to consider when growing your company?
It is not enough to just want to grow your organization. An organization must have a realistic vision of where it can be the best, understand what drives the organization’s profitability and then be unwilling to compromise its objectives.
You must also plan for the impact growth may have on you and your organization and develop a financial plan that addresses these issues.
One must also recognize that growth may place strains on multiple aspects of your business, not the least of which is the imperative to maintain the delivery of high-quality services to your clients.
What has been your biggest growth challenge, and how do you manage it?
Growing at over 30 percent each year can result in a company focusing too much on its internal growth challenges. Our biggest challenge to continued successful growth is to resist any temptation to direct our attention internally on the challenges of rapid growth.
Our commitment is to remain focused on the interests of our clients as our top priority. Our associates continue to strive to make sure that the next client is as happy with our service as the last 100 clients.
HOW TO REACH: Lancaster Pollard, (614) 224-8800 or www.lancasterpollard.com