The one thing is – it’s never just one thing

How do you stay ahead of ever-rising customer expectations? There’s no single way to do it – it’s a combination of many things. – Jeff Bezos

The most persistent and vexing challenges faced by executives is determining how best to grow their business. There is no way to reduce those pressures and keep the business going without top-line growth and bottom-line profitability. Growth and comfort never co-exist. Companies often rely on strategies that worked for them once but may have outlived their purpose and no longer have the desired impact in current market conditions and context.

For The Purposes of Growth IQ

Growth refers to top-line sales organic growth, not cost cutting, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), or other means to grow profiability or the bottom line.

Growth strategy is defined as “a plen of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”

Growth path is HOW – initiatives that can focus the company on the task at hand and achieve the strategic growth goal.

Growth strategies companies chose to pursue……. in which a strategy was deployed and the combination and sequence of initiatives.

The Ten Growth Paths

  1. Customer Experience: Inspire additional purchases and advocacy
  2. Customer Base Penetration: Sell more existing products to existing customers
  3. Market Acceleration: Expand into new markets with existing products.
  4. Product Expansion: Sell new products to existing markets.
  5. Customer and Product Diversification: Sell new products to new customers
  6. Optimize Sales: Streamline sales efforts to increase productivity
  7. Churn (Minimize Defection): Retain more customers
  8. Partnerships: Leverage third-party alliances, channels, and ecosystems (Sales, Go-To-Market)
  9. Co-Opetition: Cooperate with market or industry competitor (Product Development, IP Sharing)
  10. Unconventional Strategies: Disrupt current thinking

1. Customer Experience

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards for the technology …. What incredile benefits can we give to the customer? … Not starting with “Let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have.” – Steve Jobs

That is why this growth path can be so unforgiving.

Customer experience is based on the feelings that arise once customers engage with your products, employees, and various sales, service, and marketing channels.

The true source of competitive differentiation in the twenty-first century is: Customer Experience.

The definition of what a “customer” is … is blurring.

The level of complexity between a company and its “customer” is actually getting worse.

It is the growth path that must become the foundation for each subsequent path.

CX must become the “nucleus” that site at the intersection of all business units, all functions, all decisions, all employees. Everything.

Transforming customer experience requires complete company buy-in.

Story 1 Sephora: A beautiful experience

In today’s retail environment, where very little is constant and clients’ expectations are ever-evolving, one thing has remained true for SEPHORA: there is no better way to create meaningful connections with clients than through personalized experiences and a customized approach to beauty. – Calvin Mcdonald, president and CEO of Sephora Americas

One in which consumers were increasingly interested in the experience they had with brands online.

Crucial to Sephora’s success was the sequence in which it struck these partnerships, launched its own initiatives, and worked with previous competitors.

Sephora’s ability to learn what its customers want and what they may want in the future helps it stay ahead in delivering a compelling customer experience over time.

Finding strong success in one market or customer base doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

Story 2 Shake Shake: Radical Hospitality

We’re not in the hamburger business; we’re in show business. – Ray Kroc, “Founder” of McDonald’s

Its dedication to quality and customer service bucked stereotypes of traditional fast food.

Customer experience isn’t a “nice to have,” an afterthought, something you occasionally do – it must become part of your company’s DNA.

Story 3 Starbucks: Losing the Soul of the Past

The damage was slow and quiet, incremental, like a single loose thread that unravels a sweater inch by inch. – Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks

so keeping customers coming back again and again even while spending more requires a highly differentiated and unique experience.

Starbucks found itself in a full-blown growth stall.

There was no quick fix – no single thing that could help Starbucks course-correct.

You must combine growth paths in the right sequence and pace so as not to damage the momentum you’ve been able to achieve from other paths.

The company pursuing the most growth paths is not automatically the winner.

Putting it all together

It is not the employer who pays the wagees. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages – Henry Ford

you have the most control over your destiny by having the least control over what control over what your customers actually do with you.

Those making the big decisions have gotten too far away from the customer, and its frontline employees, those who play a huge role in delivering the customer’s experience.

CX is not an either-or decision; it must be a philosophy embedded into your company’s DNA.

Using a customer-centric approach to achieve growth is to drive customer obsession throughout the entire organization.

There’s no way to fake your way through this path; no amount of money, advertising, or vast product portfolio will make up for subpar experiences.

This path is a combination play supporting all of the other nine paths in some way.

2. Customer Base Penetration

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold. – Unknown

Businesses in every sector are struggling with ways to attract and acquire new consumers.

All too often, sales and marketing executives are trapped by management’s mandate to grow the (net new) customer base, with little concern for the potential imbalance of focus that brings for existing customers.

Winning a customer (once) and keeping a customer buying from you again and again are two very different things.

Strategies to increase sales from customers you already have are as important as what you do to acquire new customers in the first place.

Acquiring or “landing” a new customer is one way to grow – but landing them and then “expanding” how much they spend with you going forward is another.

Story 1 Red Bull: A Thai pharmacist and an Austrian entrepreneur walk into a bar

We don’t bring the product to the customer, we bring consumers to the product. – Dietrich Mateschitz, cofounder and CEO of Red Bull

The sequence of growing close to home, learning and developing a strong brand awareness, and gathering an extremely loyal customer base prior to branching out helped it accelerate its growth in new (regional) markets quickly.

You must know and understand your customers intimately – what they like as well as what they expect from you.

Red Bull never sold a product. They still don’t. They sell an image.

What you can do is learn from Red Bull. It has always used events to reach consumers. It put the audience of its marketing efforts first and selling its product second.

Story 2 McDonald’s: Ready, Set, Breakfast

Being on one of the ten paths and finding yourself in a growth stall doesn’t mean you have to jump to another path altogether in order to recover.

The McDonald’s story is a perfect example of how to use combination and sequence effectively. The growth strategy to launch the All Day Breakfast menu, which included products it already had (specifically, the Egg McMuffin), significantly reduced time to market; the growth paths were a combination of Customer Base Penetration, Customer Experience, and Market Acceleration; and the sequence was timed to ensure that each location would be able to update its kitchen to accommodate the new menu without negative impact to operational efficiency.

Story 3 Sears: Uprooting Retail

We don’t need more customers. We have all the customers we could possibly want. – Eddie Lampert, CEO of Sears

One of the greatest sales and marketing ideas of all time: the mailorder catalog.

Having played the role of upstart retail juggernaut in the 1890s, Sears now found itself in the same position as the rural general stores it used to drive out of business en masse.

Today, it’s the customer who is defining the shopping experience.

Remember to consider the market context when planning for growth.

Sears didn’t lose them, it just sold them.

One of Sears’s big selling points has been that it is the only retailer to carry all of the top ten major appliance brands.

The most important reason to do anything: the customers you serve.

Putting it all together

The reasons your customers became your customers in the first place will also impact the success of whichever growth path you choose.

Remember, this is about not only acquiring customers once but ensuring that you keep your brand top of mind when they “shop” again.

3. Market Acceleration

China is going to be the world’s largest consumption place and that engine is going to drive the world economy. – Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group

Market Acceleration is the path of taking a brand’s existing product into new markets, it is not selling entirely new products into new markets.

The determining factor is that the market is in fact “new” for a company, outside of “to whom” or “where” it is currently selling.

If you do choose to pursue a market that is unfamiliar with the product or service you are selling, be prepared initially to spend more marketing dollars on product education and brand awareness than on driving leads.

Story 1 Under Armour: Sweary T-Shirts

Surround your disruptive core product, the thing that got you to the dance, with a whole product that solves for the target customer’s problem end to end. – Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm

As with any successful “Blue Ocean” strategy, don’t go after the core business of the larger incumbents. Go after a smaller niche; win there. Learn the market. Develop a beachhead. Pull people into your product, your brand’s orbit – and then, and only then, begin to expand your market and product offerings.

Build a beachhead, attack larger competitors from the edges, and build customer demand and loyalty without financially overextending yourself.

Story 2 The Honest Company: Better Living Through Chemistry

Forty-two percent of global respondents say they’s willing to pay a premium for products made with organic or all-natural ingredients. – “Deeper Than Dollars” (2016 Nielsen report)

Customer Experience. Going where their customers are and responding to the ever-changing market context are what separates high-performing companies from the rest.

The quickest path to getting big in a new market is to aim small.

Story 3 Mattel: Toys will be Toys

Our vision is to inspire the wonder of childhood as the global leader in learning and development through play. As we shift our business aggressively in a new strategic direction and transform how we operate, I believe we have the assets to achieve this vision and shape the future of the toy industry. – Margo Georgiadis, CEO of Mattel

Market Acceleration to reverse a growth stall. However, in the case of China’s fragmented yet lucrative toy market, the success for any brand interested in aggressively pursuing new or emerging markets hinges on its ability to navigate strict regulation and adapt to local consumer preferences.

What is important to keep in mind as you read this lesson is the fact that if you are going to pursue the Market Acceleration growth path, you must consider not only the products you plan on selling but the broad set of partners needed to support and fuel your growth.

If product development isn’t aligned with the partnership and alliance team, one can actually end up competing against the other or, worse yet, become the catalyst to destroy long-standing revenue streams.

4. Product Expansion

When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for an alternative. – Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma

The first and most important reason for any new development should be to provide “value” to a customer by solving a personal, business, or societal need.

The new and increasing value is what keeps customers coming back and companies growing.

Only having a great product – even if it’s the best of breed – is no longer enough.

It’s when you are too product-focused that you get into trouble.

Story 1 Kylie Cosmetics: Keeping up with Kylie Jenner (#KUWKJ)

[Millennials] create a community and their own language and their own world and communicate and consume in a different way. – Jo Malone, founder of Jo Malone and Jo Loves

The success of this strategy depended heavily on both combination and sequence.

Story 2 John Deere: And the “Beet” Goes on

Necessity is the mother of invention – Proverb

The business world is littered with companies that didn’t want to change – even when the market was changing around them.

John Deere developed new products based on years of studying and querying farmers about their needs.

The shift was not to a Product Expansion growth path, but within the Product Expansion path: a shift from a product-centric to a customer/user experience-centric approach.

Story 3 Blockbuster: “Be kind, Please don’t unwind our business”

Ok, Houston, we’ve had a problem here. – Jack Swigert, NASA command module pilot of Apollo 13

Launching loyalty cards is one thing. Engendering loyalty among one’s customers is another.

Blockbuster wasn’t prepared for the speed with which the context of the market would change around them.

Blockbuster didn’t have to die – especially for the reason it did.

Blockbuster feared change and hung on too long – the context and the customer got too far away from it to recover.

What it missed was that its customers were buying the experience of watching a movie with family and friends.

Putting it all together

Think about staying close to your core and choose adjacencies to your existing base.

Bring a new product to market is often a very cost – and labor-intensive activity.

It is a bad idea to expand your product offering when you haven’t thought through the implications of doing so.

The reality of the business world is that there is almost no company that is your perfect, pure competitor.

5. Customer and Product Diversification

Taking an established American brand into an emerging market requires a careful assessment of the local landscape and tastes and a flexible approach to your product’s place in it. There’s got to be a balance. We call it “glocal.” It’s the global together with the local that’s the winning brand. —IRENE ROSENFELD, CEO and chairman of Mondeleˉz International

When the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it.

Culture matters a lot in this case.

Before you even consider this growth path, make sure you fully understand your company’s market context.

Then, and only then, double down by pushing further into new products, markets, and customers.

The risks can be extraordinary – but so can the rewards.

Even in failures, there are lessons, which, if you’re paying attention, can be applied in other situations.

A new product is an untested product, one whose market reception you do not yet know.

Unfortunately, many companies only resort to diversification when they are in trouble.

Story 1 Marvel: Superhero saves the day

Companies are successful or not because they get market transitions right. – John Chambers, former chairman and CEO of Cisco

The value of its brand wasn’t actually comic books but the comic book characters themselves.

It was a “bet the company” risk meant to leap into hot new markets or make investments in new, unchartered territories.

If you’re not careful, the fear of failure can keep you away from your greatest innovations.

Know why customers like your brand, like your products, and are willing to spend money with you.

Story 2 Paypal: Banking on the Future

The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake. – Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay

By 2012, billions of people had access to smartphones, the Internet, and ubiquitous e-commerce and local businesses that had global reach.

The sequence in which these adjustments were made would have material impact on future results.

It isn’t possible to put everything else on hold when you decide to make significant adjustments to an organization, products, and customers.

Story 3 LEGO: Coming apart, Brick by brick

Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture. – Lydia Maria Child, American writer and activist

This ability to stay so close to its customers and stay ahead of their demands is what may have helped fuel its impressive growth over the past decade.

The sequence of changes set them up for a higher likelihood for success.

LEGO being unable to respond to the changing demands of its customers fast enough.

The lesson in this story is that even when you are growing, even when you have one of the strongest brands in the world, you can’t ignore what is needed to support the push into multiple paths . . . your people, and the ability for your company to respond, sometimes very quickly, to changing customer demands.

Past success, even past failure, is not always a good teacher.

New products won’t just market, sell, and support themselves to a new customer base.

Putting it all together

A company operating in a single market or with a single product family is always at risk for discontinuities.

Diversification also presents potential cultural problems.

Great products do not sell themselves.

In your new market you are just the little unknown company you were twenty years ago.

6. Optimize Sales

Work smarter… not harder. – Allan H. Mogensen, the “Father of Work Simplification”

Sales is the “last mile” – the moment of truth for any company.

Leadership doesn’t always take the time to review current sales practices on a regular basis.

Companies have to be good at bringing customers to their products.

Companies can no longer count on products alone to be their sustainable competitive edge.

Many companies get trapped by the paradox of hitting numbers “now” versus improving sales for future quarters or years ahead.

Companies do two things – make things and sell things.

Optimize Sales is like the Customer Experience path in the sense that it should be a constant, underlying focus for any company that “sells” a product or service. There should never be a time when a company isn’t focusing on increasing sales effectiveness – it ought to be as critical as reviewing financials.

Story 1 Salesforce: Four men and Two dogs

If I’m right – and I’m convinced I am – this on-demand model will totally change the way technology is bought and sold. In other words, it’s the end of software as we know it. – Marc Benioff, CEO of

Think about how easy Amazon made it to buy a book – Salesforce wanted to do that same thing to CRM.

If the customers are happy, if its sales teams are more productive, if it is able to have better predictability in the business and greater pipeline visibility, then it is more likely to grow its own business.

Instead, you must look from the outside in, so you can match customer expectations and their buying journey with how you organize, enable, train, and scale your sales force.

Look beyond your four walls to uncover unrealized potential.

Looking at an existing sales model from a competitor or even another can provide you with a starting point from which you can develop your product.

Story 2 Walmart: The ultimate retail matchup

The ideal way to win a championship is step by step. – Phil Jackson, American basketball player and coach

Any solution was going to have to come from rethinking how the company served its customers.

An estimated 90 percent of all Americans live within ten miles of one of its stores.

The first step was integration – sequence matters.

the company has kept those two operations apart. This integration will not only reduce redundancy and cut costs but for customers it will make the interface between the physical and virtual Walmart experience nearly seamless.

What you can and should take away from this is why it did it.

Story 3 Wells Fargo: A Rhyme is not a reason

Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. – Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying: An Observation”

Do what’s right by your sales force so that they can do what’s right for your customers. Every time.

Sometimes bad sales behavior follows bad sales management.

Putting it all together

He doesn’t put a bolt to a nut, he doesn’t tell you the law or gives you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. . . . A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory. —ARTHUR MILLER, Death of a Salesman

At its core, sales is about relationships and trust.

The other paths will be far more difficult to execute if your selling function is ineffective.

Even the best-laid plans don’t guarantee success.

The gasoline that powers a business is sales.

Improving the performance of existing resources without adding even one more salesperson can produce incredible returns.

7. Churn

The well-satisfied customer will bring the respect sales that counts. – J.C. Penney

There is now a more broad-based shift from a pay-per-product model to a more predictable subscription-based model.

Whenever you can inspire a customer to join something and become part of your club, the concept of automatic recurring monthly billing is virtually assumed.

while the shift to this business model has lots of upsides, it has also opened the door for an entirely new way in which companies can face an unexpected growth stall, even when the top line happens to be growing.

That’s why focusing only on top-line growth (customer acquisition) and not on the full lifetime of a customer, especially in a subscription business, is a recipe for disaster.

But churn is rarely caused by a single trigger.

In retail, for example, returning shoppers spend a whopping 67 percent more than new ones.

The goal is to minimize the “controllable” churn as much as you can.

In addition, companies focused on retention are nearly 50 percent more likely to consider projected long-term profitability growth when marking decisions about customer strategy.

Story 1 Spotify: Winning playlist

We don’t think of people leaving the service as churn. – Roger Kynch, CEO of Pandora and former CEO of Sling TV

Spotify figured out not only how to grow its paying customer base but how to control its churn at the same time.

Story 2 Netflix: Twenty years old (and Counting)

There’s no business like show business. – Irving Berlin in Annie Get Your Gun

Provide an original and unique product, keep customers from going elsewhere or leaving altogether (churning). How? For Netflix, it’s content.

The Optimize Sales, Customer Base Penetration, Market Acceleration, Churn, and Customer and Product Diversification paths all become much less effective.

Story 3 Blue Apron: Too much on the plate

Consumer preferences for food have changed… changed radically. I call them seismic shifts. – Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company

The company was suffering diminishing customer retention – that is, greater churn – due to orders arriving late or incomplete.

If you lose more customers than you gain each month, you don’t have much of a business at all.

This is a vicious cycle when churn gets out of control.

Diversifying and expanding a portfolio of products is a calculated risk, but as is the case in many other examples you have seen thus far, often companies forget about the interconnectedness of the decisions they make to other parts of the business.

Growth IQ has three components: context, combination, and sequence.

Timing is everything.

Putting it all together

The bitternesss of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low porice is forgotten. – ALDO GUCCI

Successful companies combine a focus on churn with a focus on LTV.

Before a business can fight churn, it’s important to know why churn happens.

Don’t forget that you can get in front of churn and create a more memorable experience that your customers can’t get anywhere else.

If you are selling better, keeping and servicing your customers, churn may just take care of itself.

8. Partnerships

Partnership is the way. Dictatorial win-lose is so old-school – Alanis Morissette

You must be willing to step outside your comfort zone when the customer and market context change – and partnerships can be one of those ways.

The tenets of an effective partnership are trust, fairness, and mutual benefit to both parties.

The response to all the changes in the market, in industries, and in consumer behavior requires businesses to work together much more closely than they have in the past.

The result: both parties reap the benefits of the partnership.

Partnerships should be proactive and have well-thought-out arrangements between the companies, with clear expectations and measurable results.

Story 1 Gopro: Adrenaline Junkies

Partners have been, and will remain, at the heart of this company as long as I’m here. – Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco

The real boost to its success was in its ability to respond to the changing market context.

The company was in the right place at the right time, with the right product.

Sales distribution channel is one of its most valuable assets.

It was a series of partnering decisions, combined with shoring up its product issues, that helped GoPro get back on track.

Effective partnerships are built on trust, fairness, and mutual benefit.

We view this as a strategic partnership that brings much more than just shelves for our products but a true partner.

The choice to pursue partnerships as part of an effort to reignite growth.

Story 2 Airlines: The friendly skies

It is literally true that you can successed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. – Napoleon Hill, Author of Think and Grow Rich

1.5 billion AAdvantage miles are earned or redeemed each day or over 500 billion miles earned or redeemed per year.

Customers aren’t concerned with your internal hesitation; they care about the value they get for the money they pay you.

Story 3 Apple: Killing me Swiftly

It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, just have to be right once. – Mark Cuban

Everyone better understands how the decisions they make about pricing, features, and availability will impact your partner ecosystem.

Putting it all together

A strong relationship with your vendors will help keep you at the forefront of changing market trends. . . . Our dealer network generates extraordinary and timely market intelligence. It’s a rich source of information that enables us to introduce new products and support services successfully. —DONALD V. FITES, former chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, Inc.

Some partnerships are so critical to the success of a business that without them, the future of the business is totally at risk.

Many partnerships are approached as an afterthought.

Striving to outmaneuver competitors these days requires many more external partnerships to support evolving growth initiatives.

Partnerships should continue to evolve over time, as new opportunities are uncovered.

9. Co-Opetition

No one can succeed by themselves. . . . The only way you can achieve something magnificent is by working with other people. There is lots of co-opetition. —REID HOFFMAN, venture capitalist and cofounder of LinkedIn

Find ways to work together to accomplish ends that they would be unlikely to achieve alone.

Co-opetition is a reaction against the notion that a particular market sector represents a “zero-sum” game.

The goal of Co-opetition is to find synergies and common ground between those competitors in the hope of growing the size of that pie.

A protectionist approach to IP is designed to protect and prolong the life cycle of existing technologies, allowing innovators to maximize returns on their investments.

A shortsighted view can keep companies on their current path to growth and not think about how to approach the new market context in a different way.

Story 1 FIAT Chrysler, BMW, and Intel joining Forces

In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers. Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective. – Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

This Co-opetition alliance shows that global collaboration among companies, even with deep pockets, as is the case with FCA, BMW, and Intel, will become more commonplace as disruptive technologies threaten the status quo. FCA will benefit because it doesn’t necessarily have the financial muscle to justify developing its own self-driving cars from scratch.

Story 2 Wintel: Attack of the clones

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. —MICHAEL CORLEONE, The Godfather Part II

Not to sell only its specific hardware chip but the “solution” represented by the chip, combined with its design tools and company support.

You can’t grow internally or through acquisitions fast enough to dominate a major technology revolution by yourself.

The result was a virtuous growth and innovation spiral that changed the world.

Produced more than $1 trillion in wealth and changed the lives of every person on the planet.

Story 3 Cisco-Vmware-EMC – Better Together?

Cisco and EMC, together with VMware, are coming together in an unprecedented way to help our customers. —JOSEPH TUCCI, chairman and CEO of EMC

The difference may have been clear to the folks at the various companies but not to customers.

Putting it all together

It is incumbent that you see the potential for great rewards in order to justify the risk taken.

10. Unconventional Strategies

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. – SAM WALTON, founder of Walmart

The most important questions for my career by age.

Passionate not only about growing their business but about leveraging their platform, voice, products, employees, partners, and even shareholders to bring about social change.

Whereas the costs may not be prohibitive, in terms of emotional fortitude and courage, this path can be the most demanding of all.

Unconventional Strategies represent an embarkation into the unknown. It is hard enough to know when you are successful; it’s even harder to recognize when you are in trouble.

For Salesforce, that means creating a company with a purpose beyond profit. Says Benioff, “My goals for the company are to do well and do good.

In order to solve issues like food security or climate change, you need to have longer-term solutions.

Story 1 Toms Shoes: Heart and Sole

Goals are only wishes unless you have a plan. —MELINDA GATES, American philanthropist and cofounder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

These companies that have made it part of their DNA may actually offer lessons for those already established brands interested in pursuing this as both a social and an economic boost.

To provide a new pair of shoes free of charge to youths from Argentina and other developing countries for each pair sold, a for-profit company based on the buy-one, give-one idea.

But having a strong brand (awareness) for social capitalism doesn’t guarantee success if you decide to expand beyond your core products and services.

Mycoskie pondered the fate of his company and its philosophy. He realized that the company he founded had become more focused on process than purpose. It had lost its way.

It has distributed more than seventy million free shoes and delivered 175,000 weeks of clean water to the developing world.

The line is blurring between nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Taking a step back, pausing, and hitting reset is sometimes the best way to move forward.

Story 2 Lemonade Insurance: When life gives you lemons

We have to execute our purpose objectives in order to deliver performance. It is not Performance and Purpose; it is not Performance or Purpose; it is Performance with Purpose. —INDRA NOOYI, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo

More than a third have said they would spend more on a brand that supports a cause they believe in.

Any unclaimed premiums were then to be awarded annually to a nonprofit of the user’s choosing in a program titled “Giveback.”

In fewer than two years, Lemonade had become the largest insurer of first-time buyers (many of them millennials) of renter’s insurance—surpassing such insurance titans as Allstate, Geico, Progressive, State Farm, and USAA.

Market intelligence was its road map.

Story 3 Grameen Bank in Bangladesh: on purpose

Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness. . . . To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge—to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose. – Mark Zuckerberg

At the turn of the century a new philosophy, a new business model, began to emerge: social enterprises, as they are called.

But an entirely unexpected revolution in the support of social entrepreneurship has been the arrival of for-profit commercial companies.

Not just as a way to look good but actually as a way to grow the organization. For that reason, social entrepreneurship can be considered one of the most compelling forms of Unconventional Strategies paths.

“Doing well, by doing good” is not only possible—done right, it can be an authentic way to connect with your employees, customers, partners, and shareholders in a meaningful way.

Putting it all together

When you sacrifice [corporate culture] all on hyper-growth, it has a price on human capital. —ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

“Mission-driven” companies tend to have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of retention.