Want to watch the video version of this article?  Here you go.

When you’re piloting a growing business, you have momentum on your side and your focus is on those peaks you want to scale next.

But growing means moving from a team of generalists wearing multiple hats — to…well what, exactly?!

Not to mention, there’s also the niggling feeling that if you’re bursting at the seams right now — where does the time and energy come from to deal with a bigger team and all the management that comes with it?

Nobody starts a business in order to play whack-a-mole on people and performance issues — so how do growing business get over this hump?

 

Here’s what’s really going on:

Your business has hit an important inflection point.

 

You’ve stopped being a start-up and are starting to turn the corner to becoming a mature business.

That means — and I’m sorry to say it — but the habits and behavior that got you here are NOT the same habits and behavior that will take you forward.

In fact, the habits of success in the early start-up phase become the habits that keep you stuck as your business grows.

So it’s NOT just adding warm bodies and writing some SOPs and otherwise doing business-as-usual.

It’s about recognizing that the playbook has changed and getting out in front to LEAD the change — for your team and your growing business.

Here’s how you meet the challenge head-on and set your business up for success:

HEADS-UP: if you’re looking for easy — no need to read further. These steps are overviews of some really deep work. You’re growing a business, not baking a cake! Think of these as way-points on your journey: a road-map and not a recipe. 

1. Determine your vision for the next 1-2 years. For just the next year or so, paint a really good picture of where you want your business to head. These plans will act as a “yardstick” to rule projects IN or OUT. Hint: Your plans do need to be precise enough TO rule things in and out, if it doesn’t or can’t, it’s not focused enough.

2. Match the work to the people. Name all the work to build, market, sell, fulfill all of your intended offerings (including free offerings and all behind-the-scenes work). Then, assemble the right team in the right structure to meet the work. See what I did there? I took two brief sentences to describe a monumentally important (and possibly lengthy) undertaking. All of your work needs to have a happy home on your team. Otherwise…how is the work going to get done? This is quite the undertaking but it’s a worthy one — and it’s 100% necessary. Anything less than this and you’re just guessing. 

3. Cultivate a team culture that centers equity by implementing a culture plan that prioritizes transparency, agreement & accountability. Another deceptively “simple” step, but also critical to the longevity of your business. This will turn individuals into a team and galvanize them to do their very best work.

4. Create the rhythm of your business: meeting cadences, project planning & scoping, change-control procedures, and the like — so it’s easy to see your culture in action and be poised meet all the work cheerfully and completely.

These steps are straight-forward (but not easy) and I recommend you get support as you move through them. You may have folks on your team who can help you step through these. If you’re interested in having my support and guidance, please reach out! This is my bread & butter, and I love supporting clients through this process. Want to learn more? Watch the video above or click here to view on YouTube.

We walk through each step in a structured way — and clients emerge with:
a

  • an unshakeable sense of their way forward,
  • a clearheaded translation of their vision into concrete, on-the-ground decisions to make as they grow –
  • and the ability to confidently navigate their options as they move forward.
One Step You Can Take Right Now

So now I want to share most important shift that business owners need to make to really thrive in this next phase of business.

There’s a myth operating out there that having “people issues” to manage — means you’re doing something wrong.

Like, maybe you made a wrong-hire, or you’re not very good managing people, or the fates have cursed you — you, specifically.

And so when people- or performance issues do come up, there’s lots of negative energy around it — disappointment, irritation, second-guessing. And those feelings pile onto the original problem, making it monumental for everyone involved.

I am here to bust this myth: If you have people, you will have people issues to manage. There’s no getting around it.

But you can cultivate a culture — NOT where problems don’t happen — but where the problems are workable and are managed in good faith.

That is the target to shoot for: workable and managed in good faith.

And guess what? Not only is it more realistic (and less isolating when they do come up) but it situates the problem in your sphere of influence, rather than feeling like it’s something happening to you.

Making this mindset shift will change so much — about your business and your team!

I wish you the very best as your business grows.