The Secret Growth Strategy of the Ant Colony

If you’ve recently moved to the southeast from a northern state, then you’ve also more than likely added a new, monthly service – one that you never expected.

After moving to Georgia 5 years ago, we quickly dismissed our realtor’s STRONG recommendation to hire a certain pest control service.  We don’t need a pest control service – we’ll be fine!  Bet you know where this one’s headed…

Even after seeing multiple pest control trucks parked in driveways throughout the neighborhood, we remained convinced that we did not need another bill.  Besides, with the way we clean house – there’s no possible way any bugs have interest in our house.

After a few weeks, we were quickly introduced to Georgia’s large (and what seems to be – growing!) population and variety of pests who made it their mission to get inside our home.  They succeeded.

Ant Nests and Scouts

Each spring brings droves and droves of ants to our home.  And not just the kind that stroll — these ants swarm and sting.  They establish a nest and slowly take over the space they invade.  The spring has been one of the worst and thus, we have seen our pest control expert quite frequently.

Upon our specialist’s last visit, he explained how these ants work.  While there may be thousands back at the nest, only one or two ants are sent out of the colony to scout for food or “ant-treasure”.  Upon discovery, the lone ant reports back to the nest to which thousands are deployed in pursuit of the new treasure.


Our most recent ant invasion got me thinking.

The Chief Growth Officer

Ironically, just like the ant population, every organization, team, executive, and Chief Executive Officer needs a scout.  Every business needs someone who travels ahead to discover new trends, markets or opportunities.  Organizations need someone with single accountability for the future growth of the business, unencumbered by political lines, territories or self-promotion.

The current approach to strategy typically tasks functional leaders with figuring out where and how the organization will grow.  While this has served well in the past, the fast moving external environment coupled with unstable economic conditions and rapid entrepreneurial disruption demands a new approach.

Less than a year ago, Chief Executive’s Dale Buss penned a terrific piece: ‘Chief Growth Officer’ Title Catches On As Way to Battle Growth Challenges.  The thrust of his case is that business leaders need to find a way to keep growth at the forefront of the organization and ultimately, from slipping into the shadows of the day-to-day priorities.

Unfortunately, not every business will hire a Chief Growth Officer (CGO) or an outside consultant to help them access the next big market for growth.  I would even argue, that partnering with the expert outsider is the secret sauce to establishing the right “scout-to-nest”, cross-functional relationship needed to not only access the right opportunities, but to activate them.

So, let me ask you  –  does your nest have a scout?

Do you have somebody accountable for driving a cohesive approach to strategy and growth for your organization?

If not, now may be the time to change your approach.  Before pest control finds the nest.

Mr. CEO or Business Owner, go get a scout.


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Founder Todd Garreston

With over 15 years of experience leading market share growth initiatives of top consumer brands in Fortune 500 and privately-held business environments, Todd Garretson advises and helps organizations identify new growth potential, craft strategy that moves people to action and enhance overall performance.

Having a passion for helping people and organizations to unlock dormant growth potential, Todd writes and speaks for audiences in three core areas: business growth strategy, leadership and personal / professional growth.

Residing in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Lauri, and their four children, weekends and free time are spent with family, coaching youth sports, and sharing his passion for fitness and nutrition.