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The Order of Black Belt: Growth Strategy Kata for Growing Companies 
New excerpts available:
Read Now - Chapter One Read Now - Chapter 2 Read Now - Chapter 3
Read Now - Chapter 4 Read Now - Chapter 5 Read Now - Chapter 6
Read Now - Black Belt Test Read Now - One Step Toward Mastery  


For 12 years I have been fortunate enough to spend my working life planning, implementing and managing growth strategy for good companies.

Through the three consulting companies I’ve founded or co-founded (Macdonald-Starling, Strategic Planning and Development; Smith Content; and Smith Growth Partners), we’ve worked with over 250 companies, helping them reach the next level of success. All of our clients report a higher degree of clarity and focus after having worked with SGP—and for many of the companies we’ve served, the results have been tremendous. The question we get most often is “How?”

The answers are in the chapters of the book I am writing and publishing through SmartCEO and here at the SGP Web site: “The Order of Black Belt” - Growth Strategy Kata for Growing Companies

The Back Story: One night not too long ago I was working on the growth strategy for a client. I was up in the tower of our office building working at my laptop by moonlight and I questioned myself for a moment. “Am I just rehashing the same plan over and over and selling it to different companies?” Gut check time.

The answer was and still is no, but I realized something very important: We do put all of our clients through a similar set of exercises (or “kata” as they say in the martial arts).

Over the years, we have developed about 35 different exercises (including Vision, Mission and Values articulation, Value Proposition Development, Message Matrix Development, 360-Degree Marketing Reviews, and Sales Cycle Analysis). No client has been through all of them and each client requires a different mix of them in order for us to collectively realize the way to greater growth—but after taking a client through several of these exercises, the answer to how to grow their company becomes apparent to everyone involved. This is the essence of the Socratic method. This is the old way of seeing and teaching. This is our practice. This is how we grow our clients’ companies.

The Partners at SGP are all Black Belts in growth strategy. SGP is our Dojang, or place of practice.

This book is written by a growth strategist, for other growth strategists, and is about business growth strategy. And that is why I think it will appeal to business readers, business owners, the C-Suite, executives and entrepreneurs alike. This is the inside stuff. This is insight into how the minds of growth strategists think about the art of growing businesses.

We have learned, developed and teach this kata to our clients. This is our dharma, our purpose in life.

This is Our Practice.

Be Well,

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