If the growth of your organization is not keeping pace with your industry or competitors, there is a significant chance it is related to executional failures, not strategic ones. If that is the case, establishing an effective GTO may be exactly the right remedy to get things back on track.

Many CEOs are familiar with the concept of a PMO (Project Management Office). Picture a multitude of spreadsheet-savvy analysts charged with tracking various initiatives through standardized processes using metrics and reports. There is value in an effective PMO, to be sure. But even as the initiatives they are working on move ahead, your organization itself remains unchanged. Work continues to happen at the same pace. Nothing structurally or fundamentally has been improved. A PMO lacks both the skill set and the authority to move that needle.


If your organization is growing at a faster rate then your industry and competitors, good for you. Rightfully, you may not want to make significant changes to your culture. However, if that isn’t the case, consider establishing a GTO (Growth Transformation Office). Structured correctly an effective GTO accelerates the operating cadence of the organization and sets in play new rules of engagement. It drives results by encouraging action, establishing accountability and removing roadblocks. In short, it hyper-charges the companies growth engine by leveraging your human capital in a way that is transformative to the culture.


A GTO does this by building a methodology that creates detailed clarity on every specific initiative, typically through a project charter. Then highlights workstreams, core objectives, key metrics, risks, dependencies and RACI models for each of those initiatives to hold specific individuals accountable for progress. To view an example of a how that may look visually, download the SBI Workstream Charter Template.


So what does “good” look like and how do you go about putting an effective GTO in place? For a detailed example click here to listen to SBI CEO, Matt Sharrers interview Jack Molloy, EVP of Worldwide Sales & Services at Motorola about how a global leader can transform a sales force of a publicly traded company.


For a cliff notes version, here are three foundational items to take into consideration:


  1. The GTO must have the full confidence and backing of the CEO and the board.


    The GTO should be an independent unit within your organization, reporting directly to you. It should be viewed and treated as an extension of the CEO’s office and even the board and as such be able to hold top managers, even executives, accountable.



  1. The leader of the GTO must have deep, executive-level commercial experience.


    This group can’t be effectively led by someone without commercial experience. Ideally look for a background in sales, marketing and sales operations. This leader needs to understand both the strategic levers for growth and be exceptional in execution of those strategic initiatives. They should be action oriented and data driven. And just as importantly have a high emotional quotient and exceptional interpersonal skills. Sometimes a carrot will be the appropriate tool, sometimes it will be a stick.



  1. Create a compelling need for change.


    As CEO, you can have a significant impact on putting your new GTO in an environment to succeed by making sure the organization understands their purpose. Make sure everyone is educated on the urgent need for change and what it means for both the company and them personally. Make it abundantly clear that doing things the “old way” isn’t acceptable any more. If the GTO runs into meaningless debate and bureaucracy when trying to accomplish their goals, it should be vigorously and publicly opposed by executive management.


Follow those guidelines and you will have build a solid foundation from which the GTO can operate. Once established, the GTO has four overarching objectives:


  1. Accelerate the organizational operating cadence.


    This is achieved through standardized action-oriented meetings. Attendees include executive sponsors and stakeholders of important growth initiatives. Agendas are tightly defined and actions rigorously tracked. The meetings bear zero resemblance to those dominated by endless PowerPoint presentations, debates and beauracracy. They are fast paced, 60 to 90 minutes, and designed to encourage action and remove roadblocks.


  1. Establishes the rules and how the organization will keep score.


    In addition to setting the tone, the GTO also establishes how the organization will track progress towards goals. A simple, consistent way of defining and tracking progress against an agreed set of metrics. Once done there can be no debate about where progress is being made and where it is not.


  1. Creates a single source of truth.


    The terminology used in the metrics established becomes the language of the growth transformation efforts. No sacred cows or “this is how we have always measured things around here”. The GTO sets the metrics, measures performance against them and ensures transparency, visibility and accountability throughout the entire organization.



  1. Continuously reinforce the compelling need for change.


    There is an emotionless-rigor associated with an effective GTO. They are pushing your organization past their comfort zone and looking to build a new culture. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a change management component to their jobs. The message you established early on about the compelling need for change should be reinforced in the GTO communications. They, and you, should actively look for positive behavioral change and acknowledge and reward achievements. For a simple visual example, see the GTO Change Management Grid below.



All of this may sound a bit draconian. Like you are hiring a drill seargent to whip your organization into shape. Frankly, it is meant to. Later this month SBI will release our quarterly research report related to the critical importance of execution to an organizations success. If the growth of your organization is not keeping pace with your industry or competitors, there is a significant chance its related to executional failures, not strategic ones. If that is the case, establishing an effective GTO may be exactly the right remedy to get things back on track.


Download the SBI Workstream Charter Template. This tool provides a visual of what a charter template would look like, helps frame the overall GTO concept into a few slides, and can be easily used by anyone who downloads it as a template to use for their own organization.



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