Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part II

This course focuses on the common human resource ("people") challenges faced by existing private businesses when they attempt to grow substantially. PART 1 OF THE GROW TO GREATNESS COURSE IS NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR TAKING THIS COURSE.

About The Course

Most entrepreneurship courses focus on how to start a business. Few focus on the next big entrepreneurial inflection point: how do you successfully grow an existing private business? This is the focus of this Course. It is based on the instructor's research and thirty years of real-world experience advising private growth companies.
This Course will focus on the common “people” challenges private growth companies face as they grow. You will study stories of how six different private businesses faced their growth challenges.
While strategic focus and operational excellence are necessary to build a great growth company, they are not sufficient. Growth requires the right kind of leadership, culture, and people. My research clearly showed that many entrepreneurs struggle with personal challenges presented to them by growth, as well as the challenge of hiring the right people and building the right management team that can play well together. The research shows that every growth business faces common challenges. You can learn from others' experience—you do not have to "reinvent the wheel".
The Course format is story based. Each case tells a compelling story. You will learn from Barbara Lynch, Ryan Dienst, Steve Ritter, Randy Bufford, John Gabbert, and Mike Cote. In addition, each week, we will discuss a different content theme. In Week 3, you will engage in a Workshop where you will be asked to apply the Growth System Assessment Tool. You will have the opportunity to create a Course Community of fellow students to learn from each other as the Course progresses.
You will learn how entrepreneurs must grow, too; the “secret” of high performance; people-centric leadership; how to create high employee engagement; how to create an internal Growth System; and how to build a senior management team.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How will I learn in this Course?

    This Course is based on the principle that one learns by doing. There are required and optional readings. You will be asked to apply concepts discussed in the videos and readings in Workshop exercises, and if you choose to join a Course Community, you will learn from each other.

  • What resources will I need for this Course?

    None. The Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia is providing this Course for free because of its mission to positively impact society. Darden Business Publishing will provide all required Course reading for free.

  • Why is this Course important?

    Growing private businesses is in many parts of the world a major job creator and a key route to building a better life for oneself and one's family. In effect, this Course is about the pursuit of hopes and dreams. I think doing business is much more than just about making money. Doing business is the primary way many people achieve their hopes and dreams to provide a better life for themselves and their families. And in doing so, building a business can also create value for employees, customers, and society. Building a business requires the right strategic focus, a compelling constantly improved customer value proposition, and the right leadership that can create a high engagement high performance environment with the right team.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this Course?

    This course is really a practical course on leadership: learning how to engage others in pursuits they find meaningful in such a way that consistent high performance and excellence becomes the norm. No matter what you do in life, you will be dependent on other people, and this Course should be useful in both your personal and work life.

  • Will I receive a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this Course?

    Yes. Students who successfully complete the Course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

Recommended Background

You may attend this Course even if you did not take Grow to Greatness, Part 1. The only prerequisite for this Course is an interest in learning about how privately owned entrepreneurial businesses grow. The following people will find this course helpful: students at all levels, private business owners, managers of private businesses, employees of private businesses, and people interested in growth, economic development, and job creation.