In this article, Xavier Lederer provides key tips on how to stimulate growth when it seems your company has stopped moving forward.
My company has great growth potential, but I spend my days fighting fires I can’t find time to work on my business. And my team, they just don’t seem to be pulling in the same direction. I have a clear vision of our future, but we are just not executing.” sighed the 55-years old CEO of this mid-market manufacturing company. He started his company 15 years and successfully grew it – but over the past few years, growth had stalled. His efforts to re-boot his growth engine have failed as well. In short, he felt stuck. How could he un-stuck himself?
His plan was simple: grow the company and then sell it in 5 years. For him, the next step seemed obvious: he needed to hire a new salesperson.
“What happened to the last sales guy?” I asked naively.
“He left! I can’t find someone who will stick with us long enough to have an impact. The same happened to the sales guy before him. I don’t understand this new generation; they have no loyalty.”
Like many other CEOs he focused on fixing symptoms, rather than the root cause of his company’s issues: His company had outgrown his management approach.
Complexity increases faster than size
As your company grows, it adds more employees and therefore more complexity. When you started in your garage people management and internal communication was very efficient: your leadership team (of one) was perfectly aligned on strategy priorities, communication was seamless from strategy to execution, and customer feedback went straight from the sales team (i.e. you) to the product development team (you as well). Then you hired a couple of people, and complexity increased: you needed to divvy up work, make decisions together, follow up on other people’s work,…
Complexity (ie the number of unique human connections on a team) increases much faster than your team size: A team of 3 people has 3 human connections, while a team of 4 people has 6 human connections. So when your team went from 3 to 4 people your complexity doubled!
The larger the team size, the more complex its management. Managing complexity is a challenge – but the biggest challenge is to regularly adjust your management approach to increasing complexity.
Key points include:
- Complexity increases faster than size
- Adjust your management approach
- Management approaches for each growth stage
Read the full article, My Growth Engine Has Stalled! Where Do I Go From Here?, on AmbroseGrowth.com.