Zach Cross | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Zach Cross


Zach Cross is president and co-founder of Revenue Analytics, a consulting company located in Atlanta, Georgia, that helps some of the world’s largest companies answer major revenue questions, such as what to charge, what to stock, and what to promote when.

The Mistake:

As we grew, we lost a little bit of our innovation and overall focus on continuous improvement as a company. The challenge was, we ended up implementing the processes that had worked for us one time in the past as our standard process.

We grew a tremendous amount through the recession, from 2009 through 2012. We went from about 15 people to roughly 60 people, and as we were going through that growth we started to recognize that we needed to put in place a little bit more structure and process.

We kind of plateaued in 2013 and 2014. At the beginning of 2015, it happened to be our 10-year anniversary as a company, and we actually took time for the first time in the company’s history to pause and evaluate where we were, where we wanted to go and what we wanted to continue to do. We spent a tremendous amount of time in the senior leadership team challenging ourselves to think about how to regain our status as a high growth company.

In those conversations, we ultimately had the realization that we had become overly bureaucratic. We had lost a lot of our drive for innovation and continuous improvement. We needed to continue to have processes and organizational frameworks in place, but we needed to give ourselves the freedom to be able to continually challenge ourselves to improve those processes, and to measure the effectiveness of those processes against benchmarks or goals. We spent a lot of the time in the back half of 2015 reinventing who we were as an organization, but also changing our mindset back to being a continuously improvement-focused organization.

To drive an organization through growth, you’ve got to continue to evolve and change.

The Lesson:

What got you here won’t get you there. To drive an organization through growth, you’ve got to continue to evolve and change to enable that type of dynamic growth over a sustained period of time.

A lot of this philosophy of change was rooted in an evolution from what we considered a roles and responsibilities mindset to a mindset of accountability and autonomy. Rather than giving people tasks and responsibilities, we give people the authority to make decisions within a framework and give them the accountability with the appropriate consequences for hitting specific goals, targets and objectives.

It’s been transformational for our business, this shift in mindset. Two years removed now from making that change we’ve effectively doubled the size our company to go from 60 people to now over 120 people. The culture of continuous improvement has been really energizing and our anticipated growth is to double the size of our company yet again between now and 2020.

Follow Revenue Analytics on Twitter at @Rev_Analytics.

Photo courtesy of Revenue Analytics

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