Forbes Publisher Opens ASI Power Summit

Tips On How Small Companies Can Grow

Rich Karlgaard"The U.S. economy is not having a spectacular rebound," Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, said yesterday during the morning keynote session at the ASI Power Summit. While in past non-recessionary times, the economy has enjoyed GDP growth of 3-4% or better, the country is stuck at about 2% right now.

How can small companies beat the odds and grow at a faster pace? "Good strategy and execution will keep you plugging along," he said. But to really enjoy growth, companies must focus on the "soft edge," Karlgaard said, meaning qualities that are less measurable but equally important, like corporate culture and teamwork.

Corporate leaders who are hard-nosed strategists but don't have good interpersonal or communication skills, for example, should recognize that and hire or promote leaders who have those qualities. "Bring in your cognitive opposite to handle what you're lacking," he said. As an example, Karlgaard said, Starbucks initially struggled as a smaller company, until founder Howard Schultz brought in Howard Behar (now former president of the company), who focused on "worrying about making every Starbucks in the world feel magical."

"We talk a lot about diversity in hiring, but we usually mean diversity in age or race," he said. "We also need to talk about cognitive diversity – bringing people on board who bring different solutions to your organization.

Counselor spoke to Karlgaard following his session to find out more of his advice for small businesses today. Click here to watch the interview.