Growing Pains

It was nearly twenty years ago that the dot com bubble burst.  Invention, adoption, growth, expansion, more, more and more……….. then, all of a sudden, bust with some serious corporate casualties along the way.

As we move forward into the next decade there are other sectors that are growing at a significant rate.  Have they learnt from the past and will they take a moment to consider how to tackle these ‘growing pains’?  This may be vital if they are going to progress and prosper and avoid another dose of corporate crash and burn.

Here are three critical challenges that are relevant to smaller companies aiming to flourish in the 2020s:

Challenge 1:

Do you have clarity around the next stage of growth and the key skills required to achieve it?  If you are a founder, it may well be that your business was initiated on passion, a hunch, maybe even a whim and a prayer.  The development process may have been explorational (maybe even scattergun) and early sales may have been delivered to kindred spirits who also had an entrepreneurial spark.  Financially, you may well have created the typical ‘hockey stick’ chart as money initially dwindled down, before rising back up and moving the finances of the organisation forward.  That’s great until one day you hit the growth brick wall – revenue stagnates, products become stale and your people are unable to do any more. Do you have crystal clarity around where you want your business to go, why you want it to get there, how you are going to do it and who/ what is required for the journey?

Challenge 2:

Do you and your leadership team have the communication skills that will ensure your people know what your vision is for the next phase of growth, what they need to do to help you achieve it and, most importantly, why this vision is important to you, your brand and your workforce?  In many ways, communicating this is about telling a story and enabling people to see how they can help your story become reality.

Challenge 3:

Have you ensured your people are supported?  Research has shown that if expectation is high (and this is always the case when there is ambition for further growth) then it needs to be married to high support if optimal performance is to be achieved.  In contrast, if high expectation is in place but low support given, then poor performance is often the end result.  This is not really surprising as it is an inauthentic stance to take:  I want but I am not prepared to give!

Enjoy the 2020s and take control of your business’ evolution.