In the last quarterly session with a client, the team reported record financials in the last 90 days. They exceeded their revenue and profit targets, and they completed over 90 percent of their rocks. By all estimations, they had every reason to celebrate. But when it came time to grade the quarter, they gave it a C+ / B–. Surprised by the low grade, I asked them to explore this a bit. What they discovered has the potential to change their company for years.
Record Growth Brings New Challenges
As they began to explore their reasons for assigning a mediocre grade to the quarter, I could feel the tension in the room. They were stressed out – and soon it became clear why.
The company’s growth rate far exceeded any growth rate they had ever experienced in the history of their organization. They’ve been growing faster than they were used to, and they were struggling to keep up with themselves. They had hit the ceiling.
Keeping Up With Record Growth
We began digging into the root cause for their frustration and determined that their organizational structure was at the center of it. Reviewing the Five Leadership Abilities™ together, we found that Structure, the fifth leadership ability, hadn’t been used consistently.
They were stuck because they hadn’t been using their Accountability Chart proactively. The leadership team was stretched too thin across too many roles as the company was growing. And because they weren’t used to the growth rate, they didn’t know how to anticipate the changes ahead of time that they were going through. They couldn’t proactively put out fires before they started.
So we spent time evaluating their Accountability Chart. We identified new seats that they needed to add, and we uncovered some right people / right seat issues. As this became clear, the stress in the room evaporated. By updating the Accountability Chart structure to take them to the next level over the next 6 to 12 months, they had a plan to free themselves up.
How To Hire For The Future
Is your company experiencing unparalleled growth? To prepare for future company growth, you can’t just hire to fill the positions you have today. Instead, you need to define and fill key positions, with the right people in the right seat, that will lead you into the future and take you through anticipated growth. If you just hire for the position you need now, the person you hire may not be capable of leading you to the next level, which will just cause more pain and frustration.
Be sure you know how to proactively address the changes you’ll need to make to keep up with your growth. Number One item: Hire for the future, not for the present.
Start by taking a fresh look at your Accountability Chart, keeping an eye toward your future growth. Ask yourself where you want your company to be at the end of the year, and whether your current structure will get you there. If not, make the necessary updates and identify any people issues you need to solve to get the right people into the right seats.
- Learn the difference between an Accountability Chart and an Organizational Chart.
- Learn more about what to do when your company hits the ceiling.
- Read Chapter 4 of Traction by Gino Wickman to learn more about getting the right people in the right seats.
This post originally appeared on the GPS For Small Business Blog on January 3, 2018.