How To Imprint Growth Into Your Company’s DNA

Posted by Esther Dalkmann

Growth Hacking, Growth Marketing, etc.

All buzzwords. But.

Whether you’re a VP, a manager, or a startup founder, your true north is always growth. Preferably 10 x Growth. Or at least, you should aim for that magnitude, otherwise, we hate to break it to you - you’re gonna flop very fast, very soon.


Talk about the unicorn you’re gonna become. Not the donkey you are today.


Robert Gaal,

Managing Director at TQ


Growth Hacking Unicorn


Your team plays a huge (if not defining) role in achieving the growth you so desire. In fact, if you’ve been hiring wisely, your team desires growth just as much as you do.

We can’t stress enough how FRIKKIN' important it is to have growth oriented people on your team, because, what we keep hearing from founder after founder is:


You’re NOT gonna growth hack everything by yourself - your team will!


As far as successful startups go, TransferWise is a no-brainer example, and their VP of Growth, Nilan Peiris, was generous to share their story. Side note: if you’re still not familiar with this fintech startup’s insane growth - where have you been??? GOOGLE IT!


...But yeah, in an exclusive interview, Nilan shared his thoughts on forming growth teams, overcoming “product vs marketing” tensions and the importance of pushing culture.

Based on the insights he provided, we compiled a guide for that VP, manager and startup founder who wants to imprint growth into his company’s DNA.


Building growth teams


Form KPI teams, rather than product teams!


A lot of companies build their teams around products. But this tactic will not guarantee growth. Focusing on KPIs that matter to your customers and forming your teams around them - will.

At TransferWise, people are grouped in autonomous, independent teams, and each team is responsible for a KPI - NOT a product. They know that KPIs make a difference to their customers and drive their growth. Therefore, teams own KPIs, rather than products.

Also, no VP or manager tells those teams what to do and how to do it. They’re independent and autonomous, right?! So the assumption is that they’re smarter and closer to the customer to know what has to be done for their KPIs to increase. For this model to work, each team really has to have experts from different backgrounds: engineers, designers, analysts…


Growth Hacking Academy Team



Coincidentally (NOT), this is a tactic applied at the Growth Tribe Academy. Each growth team consists of a creative, a data analyst and a coder. The more diverse - the better! And the steeper the growth!

Anywho… Onwards.


The “it-factor” of a successful growth team




Growth Hacking Steve Jobs Vision Quotes


Just like any organism, a product or a person, a growth team has different stages of maturity.


Some teams don’t know the problem they’re solving.

Some teams understand the problem, but don’t know how to measure whether they’re having an impact.

Some teams can measure the impact - yet can’t seem to move their KPI.


The best ones though have vision, so they know where they’re gonna be in a year’s time.


Overcoming tension among teams


Anyone can change anything, as long as their KPIs move

Another reason to form teams around KPIs and not products is what Nilan calls the “Mexican  standoff” tension between marketing and product.


Growth Hacking Nilan Peiris Slideshare


Marketing person: The product s*cks balls!

Product person: NO. Your marketing’s f*cked!


Sounds dreadfully familiar?

The way they solved this confrontation at TransferWise was by putting the marketing team into the product team and giving them green light to change anything in the product, as long as their KPIs move. ANYONE can change ANYTHING.

The gist of it is that nobody’s confronting nobody, and things just get done!


Trust your team! Because...


The final product = the people you hire + the decisions they make


Growth Hacking Trust Team



As we said before, you will not growth hack everything yourself. The collective talent and effort of your team will.

At TransferWise, the founders don’t make any decisions on the product. Nilan doesn’t make decisions on the product. What Nilan is responsible now for as the VP of growth is culture.


Move the culture!


You’re not gonna influence the final product, but what you will do is influence the culture. The basis of your team’s decision making.

Spend some time thinking how you can move the culture in your team. Make your team care about something! Inspire them to share your vision.

Nilan stresses that keeping your team on top of their KPIs is undeniably important. But ask yourself from time to time: do they care about their own KPIs rather than about the customer experience as a whole and chasing down rabbit holes?


“How do you get that to balance itself and how do you do that across all the teams at the same time?” - is something every manager and VP of growth should ask himself.


Here’re some bullet points to sum everything up


  1. Form teams around KPIs, not products
  2. Make sure to have “one of each” in every team
  3. Vision, Vision and (say it with me) VISION!
  4. To avoid “Mexican standoff” tensions, mash your teams together and focus on KPI growth
  5. Quit telling people how to do their jobs
  6. Move the culture!


SOO... Key takeaway? Having growth oriented people on your side is essential to your company’s success!

Infuse your team with vision and culture… and leave the growth hacking to us ;)


If you wanna learn more about the growth hacking mentality, process and how to imprint it into your company's DNA this is for you:

2 Day Growth Hacking Crash Course In Amsterdam!


Written by Esther Dalkmann