5 Key Domains for Profitable Growth

For businesses across the country, and around the globe, profitable and sustainable growth is imperative. Every CEO knows it, and the successful ones are focused on it. In today’s competitive marketplace, growth in revenues, customers, and profits will not happen without individual growth. Companies must specifically commit to growing their leaders’ knowledge, skills, perspective, confidence, and creativity.

Moreover, that growth must come across five key domains. By focusing on these key domains, organizations are able to create capable and energized leaders who can leverage their individual growth to help drive their company’s growth.


To be truly effective, managers must develop their business acumen and strategic skills not only within their area of the business, but across areas of the business. As leaders grow in their roles and responsibilities, they must view the business in terms of value creation, and employ the approaches and methods used to create value for the organization and its various constituencies. Great managers must be skilled in building teams and trust, recruiting and managing talent, coaching others, managing change, and communicating with impact and clarity. These critical elements are necessary to build and sustain a high-performance workplace. And lastly, today’s business environment demands that every manager be held accountable for financial results in some form. From budget requests to investments in talent to daily decision-making, effective managers need to understand and use financial information and tools to steward the inputs and optimize the outputs.


Across the board, there is agreement that companies and organizations need effective and principled leaders. Yet, in an age where most people learn about leadership through ‘airport books,’ TED Talks, and podcasts, it is difficult to know which leadership ideas are true and which are passing fads. The truth is, and decades of research confirms, that principled leadership is an influence process guided by values. Importantly, these values can be learned, and coached, to improve the effectiveness and performance for leaders at any stage of their career. This requires a combination of personal introspection and commitment, support from the organization, and measured feedback from others. Managed properly, leadership development results in a dramatic, personal awakening that creates a fundamental change not just in how people perform, but who they are—to themselves and to others.


Every organization has the opportunity to determine the role and contribution that analytics will play in their business. Traditionally speaking, data analytics is a functional capability that answers questions, informs decision-making and supports the business. However, analytics is best viewed as a core competency that extends competitive advantage, guides strategy, and drives innovation and growth. Viewed this way, analytics is more than a toolset, and more than a skillset. It is a mindset. It is a way of seeing and thinking and working with data that permeates the organization. It changes the way that people solve problems, and how they seize opportunities. And, it ultimately becomes part of the culture, and a way of doing business.

Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence is a way of doing and thinking that elevates competitive advantage and customer satisfaction across all facets and functions of the organization. There are a number of core building blocks that must be woven together to ensure a positive impact on how the organization does its work. Of course, knowledge of the principles and tools is essential, but achieving excellence goes beyond how you to do things. It is essential that leaders learn how to think about things, and how to create alignment and momentum around that thinking. Additionally, the ability to see and solve problems is critical to achieving and sustaining operational excellence. It starts with developing the ability to define, and focus on the core problem. From root cause analysis to cause and effect diagramming to 5 Whys to countermeasures…real opportunities for improvement and growth start here. There are a variety of topics within OpEx that can create profitable growth: value streams, leadership perspectives, applications (such as Gemba), and lean management. Ultimately, leaders must focus on effectively managing operational systems between and across the entire organization.


Innovation is not just about creating new products, services, or processes. It’s about creating a culture that yearns for – and instinctively and passionately pursues – what’s next. Among all of the work that the organization does, innovation is the richest opportunity to create value for customers, partners, and the organization overall. Value creation begins with ideation and generation—choosing which problems to solve, revealing unmet customer needs, and identifying new opportunities. The next phase is value capture—assessing idea potential, separating the great ideas from the good, and determining how to commercialize ideas. And finally, value delivery—addressing resource allocation, shifting organizational priorities, and engaging teams who must drive innovation out to the marketplace, and down to the bottom line.

By focusing on these 5 key domains, organizations are able to create capable and energized leaders who can leverage their individual growth to help drive company growth.

At Fisher College of Business, there are a variety of focus on these five domains and creating business leaders of tomorrow –  from our faculty expertise and academic research, to our collaboration with our business partners, to our executive education partnerships and programs.

For more information on executive education, programs designed specifically for your company, and degree programs like MBOE and EMBA, click here. Interested in learning more? Questions?  Contact Beth Miller, Director of Client Relationships, at miller.6148@osu.edu or at 614-292-8575.

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