For the 7th time in 8 years, our company Yardstick has been recognized as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in the Province by Alberta Venture Magazine. I admit that the excitement of something like this can be worn down by the years of stress, work and the constant pivoting required to maintain a rapid growth rate.
Don’t get me wrong; it is a nice feeling to be recognized, as it helps with our company’s narrative, which ironically helps us maintain even further growth. In simple marketing and storytelling terms, growing is often equated to a better product or a bigger more reliable service. I suppose in some ways that is even true. We certainly are more resilient as our company framework grows and our balance sheet becomes more formidable.
But these are not the reasons I find most appealing about constant and accelerated growth. The reasons for growth in my mind are found in the ability to share the bounty with others and create opportunity.
When we founded the company, at least in our very early years, our team created a set of values from which we found guidance for several years. The company’s values have changed modestly as we have grown, but one of our earlier ones came directly from me and my experience in a past career working for another growth oriented industry. This is what I valued then… and still continue to, even if it’s not still typewritten on our company walls.
“Create opportunity through growth and fair profit.”
I worked for the same man most of my 16 years in the waste/environmental industry. He was to many, a hard-crusted autocrat who seemed to only value the bottom-line and the financial rewards that came from it. But as I spent time learning what he, the person, valued, I saw in him what many did not. He was most proud of his track record of growth and profit, when he could provide opportunity for those who worked with him, and promote people into constantly new and bigger roles. He bragged his greatest achievement was promoting over 30 staff into the desired role of District Manager in that industry.
This is the true meaning of growth to me.
I take great personal pride when given the opportunity to add members to our team. I like to hope that Yardstick is a desired employer, and it is especially rewarding to create roles for new team members on a regular basis. Beyond that, it is especially exciting when we can promote our people into more challenging and lucrative roles, when they can buy that new car they always wanted, or make that down-payment on their first home. Or bigger home as their family grows. It may not always be a monetary accomplishment, but simply the satisfaction that comes with greater responsibility or challenge.
These things are only sustainable in the updraft of a growing business. The saying that is often overused, “if your not growing, you’re dying”, holds a great deal of truth to me. A stagnating company will eventually run out of places to promote their best performers; and without that, you simply can not attract or keep the best and brightest in your company. In that way, growth fuels not only more growth, but also a culture of performance. If your team can see a place for them in the future of a bigger and stronger organization, most will be the best version of themselves, in pursuit of the personal achievement that comes with it.
So, for that reason, we grow for our employees and because of them. That’s why I love growth. It is also why this year will be like all the others; one of dramatic growth. Stay tuned as we create more opportunity for our existing staff and a few more this year.