Today I received an email from a friend-client who lives in the Eastern Time Zone. His organization is growing. And with the growth has come a number of challenges. In his note, he mentioned these, along with some of his initial thoughts as to how they can be addressed. Here is my response.
WOW! The challenges you are facing made me smile as they are the same ones that I’ve been dealing with over the past couple of years in my practice; i.e. working with companies that have grown past their business structure and capabilities and helping them re-position themselves so that they can continue to grow.
Here’s what has happened: although you are now a real business you have not completely broken free from your old model, much of which has served (and will continue to serve) you well, much of which will need to be adjusted and much of which will need to be scrapped. A new business structure is needed.
It’s time for a “gut check.” First you have to decide if you want to continue to grow. Then you have to make room for it to happen while knowing that this will produce new challenges.
Let’s assume that 1) you and your team want to grow and 2) you are ready to make the adjustments. Then what?
First, STOP what you are doing! Don’t make minor or incremental and reactionary adjustments due to what has happened (losing a key manager) or what could happen (too many new demands). Do NOT make decisions from frustration or weariness. In other words: hit the “pause” button. At least for now.
Second, keep an open mind.
Rather than me writing about a perfect structure or which crisis to attack next, I think that you and your team would be better off taking a strategic (re: “intentional”) review with accountabilities, clarification and goals.
Starting with accountability: it is probably a good time for all of your key people to see how they are to fit with and support one another while simultaneously knowing the requirements of their respective roles. Over time, these have probably changed.
Keep this in mind: Look first at the position. Not the person.
Once you have agreed upon the structure you can talk about people. But not before.
That’s why I said, “It’s time for a gut check.” Once you’ve set a new structure for your business you will probably find that some of your managers will need to be replaced. More than likely, they will be the ones who helped you grow to where you are today.
I know you; and I know that this will not be an easy call.
But let’s assume that you make it. You’ll end up with a new team of managers who will need to stay focused. Together, they will determine what needs to be done in the business over the next 90 days. Not one year. Not six months. Ninety days. Any longer and you risk losing focus. Any shorter and you will find people rushed.
And what happens at 90 days? Not much. But a lot.
The goal is not to overwhelm the system with a lot of intentions and activity. It is to start building what will become a succession of accomplishments; the first and necessary steps in making your future more real, more believable.
That’s where I think you should start. Not with a big vision (even though talking about vision and ideas and mountains and conquests is a lot of fun). Not with big reviews (can you spell S.W.O.T.?). But with an appropriate structure and clear objectives. First get use to what you will become. Then get use to accomplishing important tasks.
This will help create culture of focus of and discipline.
After that, you can work on a 10 year, 3 year and 1 year strategy (aka “vision”); something that provides both a long-term/short-term view requiring both faith and stewardship.
I’d love to talk to you about this. Give me some times when you are available for a call.