Growth is good – until it isn’t. If you grow too fast, you can damage your brand, compromise your product, and burn out your team. Good growth is managed and planned.
Let’s look again at a lesson from recent history. Toyota has long been recognized for their quality. That reputation took a hit in the first decade of this century.
In the early 2000s, Toyota was on a roll. They were expanding and manufacturing all over the globe.
It all started with a single episode of unintended acceleration in a Lexus ES 350 in California. The car accelerated out of control, collided with another car, and went down an embankment. Four people lost their lives.
Ultimately, there were many other complaints about unintended consequences. Floor mats, accelerator pedals, software, electronics – everything was suspect.
It became a PR problem and their reputation suffered.
In a hearing with the US House of Representatives, Toyota said they grew too fast. They outgrew their engineering resources. Their products became more complex.
They made changes to prevent this issue but more importantly they made changes to how they responded to problems as an organization.
The point here is that even large, well-funded companies can grow too fast and outstrip their capacity.
In this case, growing too fast meant lower quality that had real impact on their customers.
Growth is good, but you must manage it. Media often praises and reward fast growth, but there is real danger to a company’s future if it grow so quickly that it forgets its customers and damages its reputation.
Plan for good growth that you can sustain without your product, employees, and customers suffering because you grew too fast.