When a company is just getting started or is ramping up for growth, there is a huge amount of enthusiasm. Many processes are not in place yet and the people on the team are energized by the CEO’s vision of the product or service. Everyone simply pitches in and does whatever it takes to succeed. At these early stages, the company is CEO-centric: it’s the business leader’s passion and energy that move things forward.

By the time a company has grown to over 20 employees, the dynamics change dramatically. It must shift to enterprise-centric mode, allowing algorithms to take over “do-as-you-go” approach. Many business leaders who had been in control of every decision, struggle to let go of that control and start delegating. They need to adapt to a new role and realize that CEO’s job now is to oversee see the big picture and manage the people accordingly.

Why This Challenge Must Be Resolved:

Employees often trip over each other because responsibilities haven’t been clearly defined. This causes a slowdown in productivity that ends up hurting overall customer satisfaction, who start to complain about a lack of follow through, missed deadlines, blown budgets, etc.

Another common issue during the transition from CEO-centric to enterprise-centric company is new hires. In order to remain competitive, leaders are required to bring on board more experienced staff from the “outside.” People who have grown up along with the company in a family-like atmosphere will resist these changes.  

The ability for everyone to do everything is long past. Staff buy-in begins to break down when those skillful employees demand more structure, responsibility, and authority even though the leader and the original team may not be ready for it.

How to Overcome This Challenge:

The vision that the CEO brought to those early employees may have shifted based on the reality of the market or customer needs. Revisit together your mission statement and core values. If they are not clearly defined, or no longer resonate with the organization, revise them.

Talk and listen fully to every employee. You will gain valuable knowledge that will serve you well through this journey. Questions to consider:

  • Why do you like working for this company?
  • How do you feel about the work you are doing?
  • What opportunities do you see for yourself here?
  • What changes would you make to keep this place the kind of company you want to work for?

After listening to what your team’s aspirations, concerns, dreams, and ideas are, it’s your turn to share:

  • Tell them what worries you.
  • Tell them what makes you proud.
  • Tell them the changes you feel the company will have to make to remain successful.
  • Give them your vision, talk about the mission and restate your core values.
  • Let them know you don’t have all the answers and that you are doing your best to adapt to the changes facing the company today as well as in the foreseeable future.

If you want to reserve staff buy-in from the people whom you believe can help you build a successful company, take the time and do this exercise today. Don’t wait thinking there will be a better time, there won’t be – the time is now.

Need help with this topic or leadership coaching? Contact Mission Critical Teams.

More business challenges are covered in the next blog. Follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter for updates!