You have a vision. A better way to do it. You can see how to do better work for clients and give good people a better place to work in.
You can do it better and you're determined to do it RIGHT.
You start a company.
You work your butt off to make sales and make payroll. You finally get a good team of solid people, some money in the bank, a good reputation, and things start to take off.
You get bigger.
Now you’ve got more people and a bigger office. More customers and more money.
You made it.
You not only survived. You’re WINNING.
So why does it kind of feel like you’re losing?
Survival is the first stage of business.
And when your business is small, it’s a lot of what you want because it’s mostly YOU and a handful of key people who think and act a lot like you do.
If you manage to survive, you will generally grow. And as you grow you end up with a whole new set of problems. It LOOKS like your business is the same. It looks like you’ll keep winning if you keep focusing on the same things. But BIGGER is different.
Some counterintuitive truths about where you are now:
1) If you want more FREEDOM, you need more structure.
Freedom without structure is just frustrating. The lack of clarity leads to confusion and that leads to mistakes and conflict.
The BEST results come from having very clear goals and being specific about the requirements for producing them.
You don’t want to lock down every little detail and then waste valuable time managing details that don’t add value, but you also shouldn’t just assume people will figure it out the right way on their own.
Be clear about the results people are responsible for producing UP AND DOWN the org chart, when they’re due, and any specific requirements you have for how they need to produce them.
Clear guidelines create more freedom. Weird but true.
2) More Accountability = Happier People.
Accountability is not about force or power or punishment. It’s about creating a healthy culture where you celebrate what works and confront what doesn’t.
When you as a leader fail to confront issues, you create a strange, passive-aggressive Lord-of-the-Flies Environment where people are getting away with and putting up with a lot of stuff they shouldn’t.
If you want people to be happier and more productive, provide real accountability. You don’t need to yell or scream. But you do need to regularly have honest conversations about where their attitude, effort, or results are not measuring up.
3) It’s not enough to be great at getting things done.
Now that you are bigger and there is more that needs to be coordinated and managed, it's critical you and your key people make the shift from Individual Super-Doers to Effective Collaboration.
If you have leaders responsible for delegating work and assigning resources who DON’T know how to work with one another, you’ll end up with a LOT of mistakes, problems, fires, and re-doing stuff. It’s not only inefficient, it’s maddeningly frustrating and it will eat up all your profit and then some.
Good collaboration works like a good car caravan. Each driver makes sure they don’t get too far away from both the people ahead of and behind them. It means you stop and check in with your team at critical decision points to make sure you stay aligned and to coordinate timelines and resources.
It doesn’t have to take a ton of time but it can save you an extraordinary amount of resources—money, time, AND sanity. Get good at collaboration.
Whether you’re trying to hold on to good people in a tight labor market or just help the good people you’ve got keep being good, productive people, CELEBRATE.
Human beings need to know that their efforts are useful and valued within their social group. And work is fundamentally a social group.
No, you don’t have to buy people a cake each weekjust for doing their damn job. But extra effort, great attitudes, and team victories should be celebrate.
Say thank you in front of the team. Be specific. Be public.
Be vocal about their contribution and you’ll encourage more good work by more people.
(See Languages of Appreciation for simple ideas about appreciating people in ways that mean something to them.)
If the company you have doesn’t look like the one you wanted to build, don’t give up. You figured out how to survive. You can figure this part out too.
Get focused on a different set of tasks.
Get to work.
need help understanding how to win now that you're bigger
Part I explains WHY things are so different now. Part II tells you how to start fixing it. And Part III contains step-by-step instructions for running getting your team and plan together for doing the work.
Get the free download HERE.
WONDERING WHY YOUR GOOD IDEAS DON'T GET DONE?
This recent article covers 7 of the big mistakes teams make AND tells you how to do it better. Read it HERE.
About the Author: Alecia Huck is awesome at a lot of stuff but one of her favorite specialties is helping fast-growth companies. She often works with entrepreneurs and teams that like doing things their own way and don't want to "go corporate." Alecia uses a unique combination of expertise in human behavior and process science to help them build what they need to protect their culture, freedom, profit, and sanity. Find out more HERE.
Contact Alecia directly at firstname.lastname@example.org