September 1, 2015
Things are going great. Your company is growing faster than a teenager in baby clothes…Huh?? You get the point. While this is an exciting time, it’s also a time when your company is vulnerable. Scaling fast generally means things are headed in a positive direction – but be cautious rapid success doesn’t lead to a downfall. Small flaws that seemed insignificant in the past, turn into larger issues and become magnified 10x. Cracks become exposed and they are difficult to fix when moving at high speeds.
Anticipate breakdowns to prepare for expansion. Test your company’s structural integrity in order to find the weaker points of your operation. This takes honesty with yourself and feedback from employees. Once you do this then you will be on your way.
Follow these tips to scale successfully:
- Look in the mirror: This could be a little rough because it takes complete honesty. Look at your current operation and determine what areas need improvement. Are there things you personally are doing that impede progress? Do you need to change processes, how meetings are conducted, the way communication is disseminated and so forth? Identifying flaws and admitting the need for improvement is more than half the battle. It’s not the most fun thing to do but it will help get you get started down the right track.
- “A” Players only: Don’t settle on someone you are not fully satisfied with just because you need to fill a role – one wrong hire can set you back months. As you scale, it is imperative that you bring in the right people, what I like to call “A” players. “A” players have qualities that help a company grow together as a team. Just as in sports, they are the players that check their ego at the door and will do whatever it takes to contribute to the company’s success. This is where you and your hiring department need to be on the same page and have a clear idea of the type of people you want on board.
- Onboard ‘n upward: A great tool to promote fast integration for new hires is to produce your own onboarding videos. Have various people throughout the company share their department’s responsibilities and what they love most about the culture and work environment. This is a great way for new employees to get a sense of how the company operates, and more importantly, it accelerates the acclimation process. A faster acclimation, means the faster that person will be able to start contributing to company growth. However, the best part of producing your own onboarding video is the “gag reel” with outtakes that quite possibly might make you laugh until you cry (speaking from experience).
- Facilitate and move forward: If you are fortunate enough to afford it, bring in a facilitator to work with the office. When scaling fast, communication can take a hit, processes start breaking down and pretty soon the growth starts negatively affecting the company. In order to avoid these problems, companies will bring in a management professional to assist with office communication, team expectations, and life lessons in general. Once a week the facilitator should meet with individual employees and with the office as a whole. For individuals, the primary focus should be hitting key metrics, strategy and developing a timeline for those objectives. For the entire office the tone should focus on communication, tone, rapport – ways to address office conflicts that accompany rapid growth. These lessons assist in avoiding the pitfalls of an expanding office and address issues before they grow into problems.
So remember, think before you scale. Have a plan. Execute that plan. Much luck to you and your company’s future scaling endeavors.
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