We often hear the term “growing pains” as a catch-all phrase designed to encapsulate all the challenges faced when starting a company. But, ask any entrepreneur, business owner, or company executive, and most cannot define the actual pain points preventing them from achieving optimal growth.
It’s easy to express the feelings associated with growing pains (discomfort, confusion, uncertainty, tension) but can be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause – how you manage talent, approach decision-making, build team chemistry, and define leadership.
So, how can a founder or CEO strategically navigate these growing pains before they turn into critical issues?
Successful companies are built on decisions and actions made proactively, not reactively. Ask yourself the following questions to remove the “pain” from the growing process by understanding and creating a strategy for navigating the 5 growing pains every business will face as it continues to scale.
When choosing the talent that will enable your business to grow, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “set-it-and-forget-it” — you’ve selected your initial team members, so you can check “hiring” off your list of things to do, right?
As your business evolves, you will require different people for different things. As the needs of the business change, so too will the needs and criteria on which you make your hiring decisions. Talent must be constantly evaluated to ensure that you have the right people in the right seats who can effectively handle the growing needs of the company.
Making decisions – both large and small – is critical to a company’s success. Having a clearly defined decision-making process eliminates the confusion that can keep a decision from being made or impact the ability to make a final call.
Without a clear understanding of who is responsible for making the strategic decisions required to move the company forward, growth can quickly become stagnant. Whether it’s a team making a decision or one individual having final authority, setting clear expectations for who makes decisions and how those decisions will be made becomes a crucial step for long-term scalability.
Growing a company can come with the pitfall of wanting to do everything, all at once. But, the reality is that no single entity can fulfill every single need. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that growth must equal expansion and aggressive change, but many companies can (and do!) achieve incredible growth by maintaining a laser-sharp focus on what created their initial success.
As a business leader, it’s critical to identify and block out the extra noise that will distract you from the company’s initial focus. Successful scaling doesn’t always require a complicated reinvention of the wheel – sometimes, it’s as straightforward as doubling down on and focusing strictly on areas that will simply keep the wheels turning.
The function of team chemistry is to elevate overall performance and engagement by working together towards a common goal. Creating genuine team chemistry takes work and requires vulnerability, as well as a deep understanding of each individual’s personal motivations and professional goals. It’s rooted in open and ongoing communication from the leadership team to ensure every member understands their role, why it matters, and how it plays into the bigger picture.
You can have the best talent in the world, but you’ll need to understand and support your employees’ cognitive, emotional, and behavioral needs in order to build a team that is actively engaged in creating positive outcomes for the company.
Team chemistry is what will ignite the full potential of your talent to significantly optimize business growth.
A company’s success or failure can be predicated on whether or not you have the right leadership team in place, as well as your ability to maintain your own individual focus and priorities as a leader. It’s easy to fall into the trap of working IN your business rather than ON your business, but as a founder or CEO, it’s critical to focus on the bigger-picture strategic goals and decisions that will help drive your company’s growth — not the execution of those decisions.
Effective leadership is complex and multifaceted, with nuances and subtleties that can make these key positions challenging to fill. Recruiting talent externally while simultaneously developing leadership opportunities for existing team members will help create the foundation for a strong leadership team that can smoothly and efficiently navigate the challenges ahead.