managing people while scaling up

Managing People While Scaling Up

From my experience, most businesses struggle with managing people while scaling up their business. The good news is that the internationally proven Scaling Up framework identifies and addresses this problem for leaders looking to grow their business. The very first chapter of the Scaling Up book is dedicated to help you better manage people issues.

The Scaling Up framework clearly states that before a good company can take its performance to the next level and become truly great, it needs to have the right staff in place. To take this a step further, business leaders need great people both inside the company and out.

When to Make People Changes

To help with managing people while scaling up, there are two key questions you should ask yourself to determine whether you need to make changes to the people side of your business.

Are you happy with the people that matter to your business?

Ask yourself, do you enjoy coming to work? Or are you experiencing irreconcilable issues with your business partners? Is there a specific executive not getting the job done? Is there a team member who disrupts everyone else? Is there a customer with too big a piece of your revenue? Is there a supplier not delivering? Is an investor or the bank making your life difficult? Are you having issues with a family member or a friend?

Would you enthusiastically re-hire everyone, knowing what you know today?

This can be a painful question that requires you to face the honest and sometimes brutal facts and make changes. It is important to acknowledge that when you grow, you may simply have outgrown some relationships.

From Good to Great

Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” describes managing people while scaling up with a bus metaphor. You are the bus driver, your company is the bus and you have to decide who’s going with you, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

Now you might assume that great business leaders start the bus journey by announcing where everyone is heading. However, Collins states that it is crucial to start by asking who, before deciding where. Figure out if you’ve got all the right people on the bus, then decide the direction to drive. The same is true when scaling up your business; your people must come first.

To ensure you have the right team on board your bus, you must make an unbiased, clear-eyed assessment of key staff within the business. Sometimes this means that you must be willing to address the uncomfortable but necessary truth that a long-time traveling companion needs to step off the bus before it can move forward.

Being honest with yourself, and your business needs will give you the emotional energy you need to work on your business.

Connect to Your Values

Once you are very clear that you have great people working with you inside your business and out, the next step is to connect staff to the company purpose and set of values.

SSBG Director Leigh Paulden discusses how core values should drive your employment choices in his article Core Values Should Drive Your Employment Choices.

When you have all your staff aligned to the company purpose, working unified towards a single purpose, and living by your company values, you are assured to achieve your business goals.

View other Four Decisions People Resources.

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