EY Challenges YPO Members With 7 Drivers of Growth

Shortly after celebrating the one-year anniversary of the start of its strategic relationship with EY, YPO held its first EY 7 Drivers of Growth event in Bucharest, Romania, in October.

The full day interactive workshop, led by EY, presented YPO members with the EY 7 Drivers of Growth model and growth navigation tools to encourage them to identify enablers for growth and develop a road map to accelerate their business.

More than a framework, a paradigm shift of what’s possible

EY identifies seven drivers of growth: the customer; people, behaviors and culture; digital technology and analytics; operation; funding and finance; transactions and alliances; and risk.

“I believe the Seven Drivers of Growth event here in Romania really created value for members, because it gave them a detailed action plan that they came out of the day,” says Randy Tavierne, EY Partner, Global Deputy for Growth Markets and Global Assurance Private Client Services Leader. “A lot of times, members don’t have the time to sit back and really think strategically — two years, three years down the road. And today, we gave them the opportunity for the entire day to do that and actually come away with an action plan.”

While for many the enablers were familiar topics, the workshop helped leaders of aspiring companies think differently about the exponential pace of change and the potential rewards for their business. Karcsi Nagy, electrical industry expert and Chief Executive Officer of PROMOELEK XXI SA, adds, “It is a very interesting tool, looks very simple but goes very deep extremely quickly. So it helped me to structure my ideas.”

People and customers first  

People, behaviors and culture was the driver that resonated the most, with many agreeing they are facing a war for talent, not just in recruiting and retaining quality people but also in ensuring they are a good fit with company vision and culture.

“I’ve found that the people factor is most difficult in this period, at least in Romania. We are facing a labor crisis right now. Lots of Romanians went abroad for work, qualified people, and it’s a struggle to find skilled labor to work in the companies,” says Sorin Miron, CEO at Somaco Group, the largest precast concrete producer in the country. “And then it’s a struggle as well to keep the management team motivated and aligned with the general purpose of the business.”

“It (the process) reminded me again, how important (it is) to be the employer of choice and how this can be such a valuable advantage on the market, especially now that it’s so hard to recruit and to retain quality people,” adds CEO at Autonom Rent-a-Car Marius Stefan.

EY’s 7 Drivers of Growth model encourages business leaders to develop a road map to accelerate their business.

Making customers their focal point was also a big take-away for YPO members, with many recognizing the need to put customer needs and desires first, while continuing to keep them engaged. “I work for a retail company. We have 40 stores in Romania. We are in the book industry. Being retail, we are fighting not just with our retail competitors, we are also fighting with online players in the market,” says Amalia Buliga, CEO at Blor Retail SA . “Our biggest challenge is to grow our customer experience; What people need to feel or experience in the store. We cannot compete just in prices. We need to work at the entire customer experience.”

Digital disruptions and risk taking

As the EY team discussed how digital, technology and analytics are having a profound impact on businesses across all industries — from retailers and banks through to carmakers and energy companies — for many participants, there was a shift in attitude and urgency to leverage technology for business growth.

“I think if you look at the digital analytics driver, there’s already been a significant amount of change. So we’ve gone from 20 years ago, when it was all about how big your box was, your computer was. Ten years ago, it was about how powerful your systems are on that computer. Today, it’s around the data you capture. It’s how you capture it, you store it, you analyze it and use it for business benefit,” says Geoffrey Godding, EY Head of Digital and Innovation for Growth Markets. “But that’s today. I think the interesting thing is that we see that tomorrow being very short term. There’s an even more significant change coming down the line which is all around artificial intelligence and robotic process automation.”

Reflecting on role technology, Stefan says although his group of companies has a number of projects related to new technology, the pace of change, including in new machine learning and artificial intelligence, reminded him that this is now a priority. “I think after reviewing this tool that we are not aggressive enough with our objectives. We’re not daring enough with what we want to do. So I think it was a good challenge, a wake-up call for me,” he says.

Tavierne adds that, not only in technology but with the other drivers, the audience was more risk-averse in other places around the world. “One of the things that really surprised me is that they were pretty well set for funds to grow. And that they weren’t looking for any additional cash. And we talked about that a little bit, that the members here in Romania are actually more conservative than what we’re seeing in other places around the world,” he says. “So we challenged them to think about taking more risk with their business.”

An exchange with EY among peers

As the workshop unfolded, YPO members developed their own roadmap — inspired not only by the new tools, but also by feedback from other members in the room — with many planning similar sessions in future retreats and strategy meetings with their team.

Confirming the importance of peer contribution, Stefan adds, “I think the most important part for me was the discussions I had afterwards with the other CEOs in the room. Even if we are from different industries, because the topic was the same, the discussions were extremely productive and ideas came left and right. And we all benefited a lot from this. So I suggest to anyone to go through this process.”

EY is YPO’s strategic learning advisor.

Rola Tassabehji is a writer and content marketing specialist with background in global brand management experience at Unilever and higher education at INSEAD. She is passionate about sharing stories of accomplished business leaders and has been interviewing chief executives and thought leaders from around the world for the past eight years.