Through my journey as an entrepreneur, I have experienced plenty of pride and joy when my business grew and reached new milestones. Hiring my first employee. Expanding our office. Landing our first six- and then seven-figure contracts. Being recognized as a Best Place to Work and a Fastest Growing Company… all highlights in my entrepreneurial journey for sure.
At times I also felt that my business was stuck. We were in a funk. Growth slowed. Things had become super complicated. We were not achieving our goals. I recall scratching my head, asking myself, “What the heck just happened?”
What I could not articulate then was a phenomenon that all businesses go through called “Hitting the Ceiling.” What I know now is that all businesses go through a series of hitting ceilings. It is a normal part of growing a company. If what I have described sounds familiar, you are not alone.
Hitting the Ceiling
There was a study published in the 1970’s titled “Evolution and Revolution as Businesses Grow”, which found that businesses do not grow in a perfectly straight line.
Businesses experience periods of evolution and periods of revolution. Actual growth is more akin to climbing a series of progressively taller mountains with peaks and valleys than it is a smooth diagonal line.
The unfortunate statistic is that 50% of businesses that hit the ceiling close their doors or their growth remains flat. Some businesses maintain a stagnant life while most others struggle to survive until their leaders burnout and call it quits. Only a select few break through the revolutionary period (i.e., the ceiling) and elevate their organization to the next level. Of those that break through the ceiling and grow to the next level, the cycle repeats roughly every five years.
If this has you feeling depressed, don’t worry… there’s hope!
Breaking Through the Ceiling Every Time
As a strong and cohesive leadership team, it is your job to parent your organization to greatness. By learning, mastering, and embracing five simple leadership abilities, you and your team will be prepared to break through the ceiling every time.
The Five Leadership Abilities™ are:
- Simplify – growing businesses quickly become complex. It is your job to apply the “Less is More” principle in everything you do and keep things simple.
- Delegate – you and your people must become masters at being able to Delegate and Elevate™ to your God-given abilities. If you cannot learn to let go and distribute work, you will be forever stuck.
- Predict – you must become great predictors of what is to come and prepare for the ride ahead. Decision-making is much more effective with confidence in what the future will bring.
- Systemize – scaling your organization requires standardizing and implementing repeatable processes to deliver a consistent experience or product.
- Structure – your people structure needs to address the growing needs of your organization – Structure first, people second. Structure your organization for the greater good of the business and then determine the right people to fill the structure. Creating seats to accommodate the needs of specific people is not in your or your employee’s best interest.
When your organization hits that ceiling, practicing these five leadership abilities will get you to the next level and minimize the disruption.
Previously published on the Chute CXO blog
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