Growth is the outcome of any successful enterprise. While growth is traditionally sought after, growing pains can cause make or break points in many small companies. The chaos that ensues during a period of growth is not something a business can avoid. It is inevitable and will be a reoccurring, rhythmical pattern each time the company expands and changes.
The good news is that many of the issues that will spring up in that chaos are predictable. They can be expected and planned for. This allows business owners to develop a strategy in order to anticipate and tackle these changes. To become more strategic when charting out your upcoming growth, it helps to understand the different transition zones involved. These zones will either raise or lower the voltage in your people.
The flood zone can be overwhelming. When a business is in this transition, there is more work than there are people available to get it done. A tempting solution is to start staffing up and adding support. However, this might be too hasty. Before rushing into adding new employees, work on developing some better structure. Set priorities and deadlines for your current team, giving clear focus and direction on what is happening and what everyone is going to be doing. Offer clarity so that staff understands the methods behind your decision-making to avoid misunderstandings. No one likes to work in the dark. This is especially true if they have a high workload. Look into opportunities to improve or automate processes to free up time for the additional work.
Wind Tunnel Zone
This transition zone is the one that typically throws leadership off. Much time and money has been invested in processes and people and developing a strategy that works. Unfortunately, a working strategy can fall apart in a growth transition zone. This means that techniques that worked well simply stop producing results. At this point, business owners and company leaders must get creative about coming up and testing new avenues for creating success and profit. New skills and resources must be developed and added. This transition zone tends to be more difficult for company leadership than for staff.
The priority during transition periods is to ensure that people are clear about what is happening and what might happen in the near future. Clarity and stability will instill confidence in staff that will allow them to more easily adapt and change as the business evolves. Focus during times of chaos is invaluable and will only make the business stronger in the long run. Your ultimate role is to build the confidence in your organization by establishing structure, clarity and focus.
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