From 50 to 500

Mastering the Unique Leadership Challenges of Growing Small Companies

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Pub Date 01 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 06 Feb 2023

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Description

In From 50 to 500, the authors identify key characteristics of small companies with the potential for rapid growth. Using this perspective, they present a highly relevant, easy-to-understand and actionable model, defining the motivators, capabilities and potential derailers unique to small business leaders. Readers are then invited to explore the distinct business challenges two typical leaders face over a business cycle. Opportunities to evaluate each leader’s decisions and outcomes provide valuable insights into their effectiveness and impact, and tools are provided to strengthen leadership effectiveness and achieve improved organizational results.

In From 50 to 500, the authors identify key characteristics of small companies with the potential for rapid growth. Using this perspective, they present a highly relevant, easy-to-understand and...


A Note From the Publisher

Jonathan Dapra has spent most of his professional life working in, leading, investing in, or consulting with growing companies. He has started companies in the tech and gaming industry and helped build the Photoshop special effects plugins company, AutoFX. He was part of the leadership team at Dynamic Graphic (DG), a creative solutions company that produced royalty-free photos, provided illustrations to most of the country’s newspapers, offered professional training, sold graphic design software, and published three nationally-known magazines. “People used to ask me what it was like working at such a big company. I never knew how to answer. I was hung up on people thinking DG was a large company. It didn’t feel big—around two hundred employees, an office in the UK, the president and five officers. Were we a small business? A midsized firm?”

This question and the implications for myself and others working in similar companies led Jonathan to focus his doctoral research on small business leader success factors. As a professor at Plymouth State University, he continues this research and applies it; consulting with business leaders and partnering with small companies across the state.

Richard Dapra's introduction to leadership began as an officer in one of the world’s largest organizations noted for its legendary leaders and highly effective leadership development, the US Marine Corps. His first post-doctoral job was at a fledgling assessment and development company, of which he was one of just four early associates. Three years later, that company, Development Dimensions International (DDI), had grown to upward of fifty people. DDI currently employs over 1,100 associates and is noted for its assessment and development solutions. Subsequent to DDI, he began and grew his own assessment company, Resource Analysis and Development. He led RAD Inc. until one of his clients, Pitney Bowes, lured him away. The next thirty-plus years of Rich’s career were spent in Fortune-100 companies including Pitney Bowes, Aetna, and Liberty Mutual, where he worked closely with CEOs and business unit heads on the acquisition, assessment, and development of talent. These experiences provided first-hand observations of leadership challenges and the capabilities required to meet them. At the end of his career, he joined Jonas’ growing and already successful leadership development company, BTS USA, where he built what is now BTS’s global assessment practice.

Several years ago, Richard began working with Jonathan and Jonas to generate targeted research and build a practical, actionable, and valuable approach to leadership assessment and development for the small business leader.

Our collective experiences and expertise give us a broad and complete view of the leadership landscape. We see the holes, the large groups of executives and business owners underserved by the existing theory. We recognize the shortcomings of the professional development frameworks and systems available to executives who wish to develop their leadership skills. This book is our first step toward educating and supporting small business leaders.

Jonas Akerman has been a life-long entrepreneur. In 1992, he came to the United States to build a US presence for the Swedish leadership and development firm, BTS Group. During his twenty-four-year tenure, he grew BTS USA from just himself to over two hundred professionals, working with executives or leadership teams in over two hundred of the Global Fortune-500 companies. Today, BTS is publicly traded and employs over seven hundred professionals across the globe. After leaving BTS, he returned to his native Sweden to become the CEO of a housing development company with nearly one hundred employees and contractors.

“When Rich first sent me some of Jonathan’s research and shared his views on the need for more role-specific assessment and development materials, it was like a lightbulb went off.” Having spent much of his professional life growing small companies and developing leaders in large, global organizations, Jonas instinctively knew most business tools, simulations, and leadership development materials were not the right fit for executives growing small companies. He quickly came to realize how many leaders throughout the world are flying without a handbook, let alone a good set of tools to help them better prepare for their experiences. “I knew I wanted to be a part of this effort to support a large but neglected group of businesspeople.”

Jonathan Dapra has spent most of his professional life working in, leading, investing in, or consulting with growing companies. He has started companies in the tech and gaming industry and helped...


Advance Praise

Before becoming a Fortune 100 executive, I experienced both success and failure in creating and running small companies. I wish then, as a young entrepreneur, I had the benefit of “From 50 to 500,” an easy-to-read, practical guide with insights for the long run.

Thomas Ramey, Director at Axis Capital. Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institute, former Chairman of Liberty International – Liberty Mutual Group 


From 50 to 500 represents a comprehensive, highly functional toolbox for the small business leader. The book is loaded with valuable insight, relevant business cases, and motivation to learn, grow, and succeed. Small businesses function and execute best as a team, and teams are best led by intelligent and adaptive leaders. Leaders willing to learn and evolve. The book’s well-thought-out success narrative serves as a blueprint for positive change management. I strongly encourage people considering a new venture, developing a new business, and scaling an early-stage company to buy this book! Once you do, dog-ear the pages, take notes, and enthusiastically apply the tricks and tools the authors generously provide for the reader. If you do, you will achieve new heights, and your employees and customers will thank you!

Marty Strong, Navy SEAL Officer (retired), CEO & Chief Strategy Officer at LGS Management Group. Author of Be Nimble 


I wish this book was around when I was building and leading my small company. There is not a thing that did not resonate with me—it put words to my experiences. As a small business entrepreneur and an organizational psychologist, the High Impact Leadership Model is a perfect framework to articulate what it takes to be successful, not just for me but for my leadership team. The three Development Domains and the self-assessment tool have just the right level of insight and practicality to be used by the novice and experienced leader alike.

Sandra B. Hartog, Ph.D., Founder of Fenestra Inc. 


Before becoming a Fortune 100 executive, I experienced both success and failure in creating and running small companies. I wish then, as a young entrepreneur, I had the benefit of “From 50 to 500,”...


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ISBN 9781789047448
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Featured Reviews

I found this book very thoughtful and practical hands on approach to leadership. It has a structured approach on how to lead companies from a small size to growth to 500. There should be a change in mind, strategic approach and ways of leading companies small and big. Interesting examples give opportunities to learn and reflect.

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