Can you believe there are predictable evolutions and revolutions as any organisation grows? As an organization scales up, there is added complexity with the addition of more employees, product lines, locations, customers and more. In order to grow successfully and manage this complexity, there are three essential elements required. If one of these is missing, your organization will experience a barrier to growth:
1. Leadership development
2. Scalable infrastructure
3. Marketing effectiveness
Let’s look at each of these elements in more depth.
As a company scales, it’s important that there’s enough growth in leadership skills to accommodate it. The health of a company is directly correlated to the health of the leadership team and its abilities in prediction, delegation and repetition. And, the larger an organization grows, the more leaders it requires.
For leaders to be proficient in prediction, the concept of being just minutes ahead of the market, competition and those they lead, they must have frequent interactions with customers, competitors and employees. This becomes more challenging as the organization scales up because the leadership team isn’t handling all the tasks as they did with a smaller operation.
Perhaps the most important skill for leaders to develop, that often gets overlooked, is the ability to delegate. In a growing organization, it’s essential for leaders to let go and trust others to do a job and do it well. As an organization grows, founders first delegate tasks they aren’t good at doing. However, as it continues to scale, leaders must begin delegating tasks they are good at. This is one of the most difficult transitions for leaders.
Finally, leaders must be the ones to “keep the main thing the main thing.” It’s a leader’s responsibility to keep the organization on message and heading in the same direction. This repetition consists of consistency just like teaching a dog a trick. Leaders are responsible for and inspiring others to finish what they start, mean what they say, and to be sure their words and actions are congruent—don’t say one thing and do something else. They are the ones who are responsible for delivering frequent messaging and metrics to reinforce these key attributes of the company and culture.
When an organization increases in size there are new needs for infrastructure. Communication tools aren’t as essential when two employees sit next to each other and can brainstorm across the room; however, when you have employees scattered on multiple floors or in several locations, infrastructure needs to change to accommodate the new demands. For a continuous growth trajectory, infrastructure needs to be scalable. All the various business functions, units and locations need to work as seamlessly as it used to with only a small staff, but in order to make your operations as efficient and effective as possible, your infrastructure needs to scale.
The No. 1 functional barrier to scaling up is the lack of an effective marketing department that’s separate from sales. Not only is marketing critical to attracting new relationships including customers, talent, advisors and investors to the business, it’s essential to address the increased competitive pressures as you scale. Additionally, marketing can prevent erosion of margins that is typical when you scale by determining what you should sell to who and at what price.
Growing a business is a dynamic process as the leadership team navigates the evolutions and revolutions of growth. To deal with these challenges, the company must grow the capabilities of the leadership team throughout the organization; install scalable infrastructure to manage the increasing complexities that come with growth; and stay on top of the market dynamics that affect the business.
I hope you have enjoyed these insights. Have a great week and stay growth-focused! Interested in hearing more? Call me on +61 408 748 980 or email me at [email protected] Best wishes,
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- Schedule a call with Gazelles Scaling Up Coach and founder of Scale Up Growth Partners, Jonathan Herps.·
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Scale Up Growth Partners is an Australian Business Advisory and Coaching firm that works with mid-market growth companies with revenue between $1M and $100M. We equip growth company leaders and executive teams with the knowledge and tools they need to scale their businesses. Scale Up Growth Partners purpose is to Grow Remarkable Leaders and Companies.