Growing successfully doesn’t just happen. There are a number of hurdles that must be successfully navigated to avoid fatal mistakes.
Most everyone I speak with is busy today. Really busy. Bankers and lawyers have a full plate of transactions focused on growth. Business owners are having a tough time finding people. And the pace of business is increasing exponentially.
There is a way to grow successfully. I’ve seen it firsthand. It just takes a little extra effort that will pay dividends in the future. Focus, people and leverage are the three secrets you need to get there.
Leadership is about creating focus, especially as you are growing. It is about creating a picture of why the business exists, what should be accomplished and where the organization is going.
To create focus in your organization, you need to be clear about the following questions:
- Why does your company exist?
- How will people that do business with you be better off?
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- What are your goals?
- Why are goals important to the organization?
- What are the steps necessary to achieve the goals?
- How does each person participate and fit in?
- What will you not do that will distract you from accomplishing your goals?
Once you have a clear view of your focus, you need to do to make it part of the fabric of your organization by doing the following:
- Include the actions necessary to accomplish your goals in your annual operating plan.
- Tie goals to each individual’s performance through annual goals, performance reviews and bonuses.
- Communicate your goals and progress against them in quarterly town hall meetings.
- Walk around and discuss goals and objectives with people throughout the organization.
Having a clear focus allows people to do their job and contribute to the long term success of the business. Because they know what to do and what not to do, work becomes more efficient and more fun. And that means you can grow faster.
One of the biggest challenges in fast-growing organizations is outgrowing the capabilities of your people.
With rapid growth, you need to constantly evaluate the talent you have today and the talent you need tomorrow. As you grow, you will increasingly need these skills:
- Strategic thinking
- Leadership skills
- Managing large groups of people
- Dealing with complexity
- Leading dispersed organizations
- Innovative thinking
For each area in the business, you should be looking at the skills needed and when they will be needed. If the skills don’t exist, identify how long it will take to grow them. If your organization is growing quickly, you’ll need to hire to get the skills you need.
When you hire, it is important to understand not just what people can do today, but the breadth of their capabilities to grow at the organization grows.
Some people can take on more work by becoming more efficient, but won’t be able to advance in the organization. Others have the ability to stretch into significantly larger roles. The goal is to find the skills you need in people who can grow with the business.
There is only so much time in the day. And once that time is spent, you can’t get it back. So, spending time where you get the highest return is critical.
As your organization grows, leveraging your people and technology becomes increasingly important. It is not about working harder – it is about working smarter. Here’s what you can do to create leverage in your organization:
- Have the best person for the job perform the work
- Put top talent in places where they can have an outsized impact
- Use technology as an enabler to accelerate the business
- Automate as much as is cost effective and enhances the customer experience
- Get rid of technology and meetings that consume time and money and don’t yield results
- Constantly refine technology and processes to remove friction points
- Get rid of non-value add activities
The tough part of growing quickly is letting go of the things you have been doing in the past. But you need to let go to grow.
Call to Action
Focus. People. Leverage.
High-performing organizations know that getting these three secrets right will fuel growth and success. What steps will you take to continue your growth? What resources do you need to be successful?
Heidi Pozzo, founder of Pozzo Consulting, helps business leaders dramatically increase their organization’s value. To contact her, visit www.heidipozzo.com or call (360) 355-7862.