Musings on Growth

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Musings on Growth

This year, along with just seven other organizations, stok ranked in the top 100 fastest growing Bay Area private companies for the fifth consecutive year. The list is based on key growth factors like revenue, and number of employees.

This one’s a big year for us. On the eve of our 10-year anniversary, making it into the SFBT Fast 100 for half of our company’s life feels like we’ve begun to crack the code on truly sustainable growth. While we’ve kept the same foundation that was begun in 2008, a lot has changed since then, so we’d like to share a few of our keys to successful, sustained growth.

1. Have one goal. The term “priority” wasn’t pluralized until the 1900s. It’s easy to get lost in all the ways you can work to make the world a better place. Don’t. Stay focused. If you have one primary objective and work your ass off to get there for 10 years, you’re going to accomplish something impressive along the way. stok has always had the goal of helping our clients find more financial value in their real estate. Through sustainable and healthy buildings, we are able to build this business case and improve the performance of the built environment.
2. Hire good people. At stok, we’ve outlined what we believe makes for a High Quality Individual, and always screen potential new hires for those characteristics. We call the stok team a family, and it’s that close, collaborative nature that allows us to deliver insanely creative solutions to our clients. Go beyond looking for people that are good at their jobs, and look for people that are purely good. This combination of intellectual and emotional intelligence is key to keeping your team close, engaged, and adaptive as you grow.
3. Embrace the unknown. stok was founded in 2008 in the midst of the recession. Times were tough, and no one was interested in realizing energy savings from a large upfront investment with money they didn’t have. We’ve diversified our services a number of times to continue to provide for the market. That required big, scary hiring decisions, which translated into big hits to our pocketbook. But if they’re smart investments, it’ll be worth the risk.
4. Know your values. stok is a purpose-driven organization, and we let our values guide our growth. If you haven’t outlined core values or a central purpose for your organization yet, it may be time to do so. It will guarantee growth that aligns with your company. Opening up the dialogue beyond senior leadership in an organization to allow others to weigh in on these can be a valuable learning experience. When crafting our purpose, values, and vision, stok engaged every team member. The co-created result perfectly reflected the goals of the company, because everyone had an equal voice.

Growth can be tricky, both to spur and manage. But when approached thoughtfully, sustainable growth is the natural course for any organization. Just focus on your vision, providing value, and doing it all with a rockstar team.

What about all of this growth has been the most rewarding for stok Founder Matt Macko? “Being able to provide for people.” Our organization is a home for the entire stok family, as well as for our clients and partners. Making that possible for the team and industry is the greatest reward out of all of this. Heading into our 10th year, we’re excited to continue to grow our vision, family, and impact.