Great Book for student entrepreneurs: "Leading at the Speed of Growth"

By EcoAction at June 7th, 2023

Great Book for student entrepreneurs: "Leading at the Speed of Growth" 

Book review by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Kölmel

"Leading at the Speed of Growth" by Katherine Catlin and Jana Matthews is a book that provides valuable insights and guidance for entrepreneurs, particularly student entrepreneurs, who are experiencing rapid growth in their ventures. The authors emphasize the importance of effective leadership during the high-growth phase and offer practical strategies and advice to navigate the challenges that come with it.


The book begins by highlighting the unique position of student entrepreneurs. They face the dual challenge of managing their ventures while also juggling their academic responsibilities. Catlin and Matthews acknowledge that this can be a demanding and overwhelming experience, but they also argue that it presents a tremendous opportunity for growth and learning.


One of the key themes explored in the book is the need for student entrepreneurs to adapt and evolve their leadership styles as their ventures grow. The authors stress that what worked in the early stages of the business may not be effective in managing a rapidly expanding enterprise. They advocate for a shift from being a hands-on "doer" to a strategic leader who can effectively delegate tasks, build teams, and establish processes to scale the business.


To help student entrepreneurs develop their leadership skills, Catlin and Matthews introduce a framework called the Growth Leadership Model. This model consists of five dimensions: personal development, building a team, managing operations, managing relationships, and leading change. Each dimension is explored in detail, providing practical advice, real-life examples, and exercises to help readers apply the concepts to their own ventures.


The authors emphasize the importance of self-awareness and continuous personal development for student entrepreneurs. They stress the need for leaders to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and values in order to effectively lead their teams and make sound decisions. Furthermore, Catlin and Matthews highlight the significance of building a strong team that aligns with the company's vision and values. They provide guidance on recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent, as well as fostering a culture of trust and collaboration.


Managing operations is another critical aspect of leading a rapidly growing venture. The authors delve into topics such as developing scalable systems and processes, managing cash flow, and balancing short-term priorities with long-term goals. They also address the challenges of delegating tasks and letting go of control, emphasizing the importance of building a competent and empowered team.


In addition to internal operations, Catlin and Matthews emphasize the importance of managing relationships with external stakeholders. They discuss strategies for building and maintaining strong relationships with customers, suppliers, investors, and other key partners. The authors also highlight the significance of effective communication, both internally within the team and externally with stakeholders.


Lastly, Catlin and Matthews address the need for student entrepreneurs to embrace change and be adaptable in a rapidly evolving business environment. They emphasize the importance of staying ahead of industry trends, continuously innovating, and being open to feedback and learning from failures.


Throughout the book, Catlin and Matthews provide practical insights and advice through real-world examples and case studies. They also include self-assessment tools and exercises that allow readers to reflect on their own leadership abilities and apply the concepts discussed.


"Leading at the Speed of Growth" offers valuable guidance for student entrepreneurs who are navigating the challenges of leading rapidly growing ventures. By emphasizing the importance of adaptive leadership, building strong teams, managing operations and relationships effectively, and embracing change, the authors provide a comprehensive framework for student entrepreneurs to thrive in their entrepreneurial journey. The book serves as a valuable resource for those seeking to develop their leadership skills and successfully lead their ventures through periods of rapid growth.