In business, “growth” is not always good because cancerous things grow, too.

Anthony Coppedge
2 min readOct 4, 2023

What if “revenue growth” is the result of laying off staff? Cancer grows too and that’s not healthy growth, either.

The issue with ‘growth at all costs’ is that it’s often a high price to pay for a low-value result.

If what your organization does is create and deliver value consistently and your value is greater than your price and there’s a need and demand for what you offer, you will grow your business. This is 101-level business acumen, yet the dashboards and reports that are the primary viewpoints in business are focused on de-contextualized numbers/metrics. They’re outputs, not outcomes. It’s easy to make cuts to personnel and decrease the value to clients when people are only seen as a means to an end.

In the book “The Age of Agile,” Stephen Denning shows how the long-term success of organizations in the modern global economy has shifted away from a focus on counting outputs and deliverables to instead a focus on understanding the value received by their customers. Because when your clients win, your business wins.

Denning positions that the same Principles, Processes, and Practices that worked in the 20th century now lag behind the Principles, Processes, and Practices of the early 21st century. The image below is my take on visualizing Denning’s model and shows how the biggest shift is, in fact, a mindset shift away from inspection and control to understanding and support.

Traditional vs. Agile Management Illustration by Anthony Coppedge

In today’s VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world, the business practices and metrics that got them through in the past will not see them through the shift brought on by the democratization of information via the internet.

The concern I have with revenue-focused growth is not the need to be profitable and stay in business (obvious and important), but the mindset that goes with making growth all about revenue targets and shareholder value.

Cancer grows, too. Don’t let ‘growth’ be the point; it should be the natural by-product of shifting to a client-focused, outcome-oriented way of doing business.

#agilemanagement #revenuegrowth #changemanagement #businessgrowth



Anthony Coppedge

I lead the vision for how business agility is infused in Digital Sales at IBM. I relish the chance to sabotage mediocrity.