(This article is rewritten based on my speech at the FingerTec Annual Dinner, which was held on 28th January 2011)
FingerTec achieved a 30% growth rate last year. And, growth is the keyword for which I would like to share with you here.
We like to measure growth. The measurable growth is normally compressed to become a figure or a rate. For example, in measuring physical growth of children, we would measure how many cm they grew taller, or how many kilos they grew heavier each year. The growth rate of a company is always established by referring to the revenue you make in a year corresponding to the previous year, and of course in the form of money.
But this is not the growth that I want to share, instead I would like to talk about the immeasurable growth, the abstract growth or biology growth or system growth that can’t be measured by any ruler or scale or any measurement instrument. Just like we grow older every year, which can be measured by age, but do we grow wiser as well? Whether or not you become any smarter when you grow older is hard to measure.
Are we grow wiser when we grow older?
I have read a book Obliquity written by John Kay, in which he promotes a concept of why the goals are best achieved indirectly. He says, paradoxically as it may sound, many goals are more likely to be achieved when pursued indirectly: the most profitable companies are not the most aggressive in chasing profit, and the wealthiest men and women are not the most materialistic, and the happiest people do not pursue happiness. This is the concept of ‘obliquity’, if I translate it to fit into my topic, it means the measurable growth should be best pursued through the immeasurable growth.
In a company, besides the measurable growth, there are a lot more immeasurable growths people tend to overlook. And I treat these growths as more important than the measurable growth like sales revenue or net profit. Because, the money you made could easily be utilized, the immeasurable growth is the added value that’s always going to stay to create a brighter future.
Without these immeasurable growths, I don’t think a company can sustain future measurable business growth.
What are those immeasurable growths that I’m hoping for in this year for FingerTec? Or more specifically, a goal for each department to achieve.
I had a growth list with me.
For Sales & Marketing Department, growth means they should add more marketing substance in their sales approach.
For Logistics and QC Department, growth means they have to upgrade their discipline to a military level in their day-to-day operation.
For R&D Department, growth means they should accelerate the maturity process for the two new products – Webster and TimeTec.
For Brand Building Department, growth means they should be more text-sensitive on top of being image-sensitive.
For Admin and Finance Department, growth means they should achieve the integration of our account and inventory system with the FingerTec support system to improve automation.
For Technical Support Department, growth means they should build a formidable admin & monitoring system into their support system.
Visionary companies or pure profit driven companies?
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras say in their best-selling title, Built to Last, “Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one – and not necessarily the primary one. Yes, they seek profits, but they’re equally guided by a core ideology – core values and sense of purpose beyond just making money. Yet paradoxically, the visionary companies make more money than the purely profit driven companies.”
To me, the measurable growth of FingerTec is just another evidence of our immeasurable growths were achieved all these years. And this year, it would be no difference too.
by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ