5 Areas To Optimize As You Scale
“The way we’re working feels rotten. It’s not fun. I’m burnt out. There must be a better way.” — Founder
Struggling to find your leadership groove? You’re not alone.
Being a confident leader of a scaling business takes time. It starts by proactively choosing how your team works together so everyone is empowered to do their best. Each team needs to find its own way. There is no plug-and-play process, nor can you “set it and forget it”.
If you aspire to progressive, healthy ways of working, consider becoming a Scale Together organization. Here are five focus areas you and your team can work on articulating, activating, documenting and communicating. Once all five reach a “good enough for now” state, you’ll have the foundational DNA of a Scale Together organization.
How close is your team to being a Scale Together organization? Take the 2 minute test.
Clarity builds confidence. Common scaling problems like doubt, overwhelm and chaos get relieved or eliminated when everyone is on the same page. To successfully scale, you and your colleagues need clarity on shared guideposts including purpose, vision and a set of values. When everybody understands the business structure, the team’s guideposts and how decisions get made, they’re empowered to steer clear of frustrating, time-wasting activities. Want to bring more clarity to your business? Ask and answer these questions.
● What’s our guiding purpose? Why are we here doing what we’re doing?
● What shared values and working principles will guide us?
● How will we structure ourselves?
● Who gets to make decisions?
Being intentional with the flow of information through your organization keeps things moving forward. To continually improve communication, eliminate internal bottlenecks and increase feedback loops. Start by asking:
● How are we going to communicate with each other? (Tech tools, meetings, frequency, etc.)
● How are we going to make sure sufficient feedback loops exist so we can keep improving?
● How transparent will we be as a team? When in doubt, share it out? Or, when in doubt, confidentiality wins?
3. Commitments and Accountabilities
Without roles defined and agreements clarified, balls get dropped. Along the way, commitments get missed and mistakes get made. Resolving the resulting tensions and disagreements quickly is critical to scaling. If you want an environment where day-to-day operations run smoothly, start by answering these questions:
● Where are we unclear about commitments and accountabilities? (Who, what, when, where?)
● What commitments and agreements need documenting?
● What are we going to do when commitments get missed and tension flares up?
Team cadence is like the heartbeat of your organization. Overwhelm and chaos fall away when a team has a predictable heartbeat — when everybody has a general sense of how the day’s going to flow.
Finding a rhythm for meetings, processes and effective team engagements is integral to staying on track. Humans need to be confident that they belong, feel connected, and have a reasonable sense of predictability in their day.
● How can we bring enough cadence to our organization based on where we’re at right now?
● Is the way we are meeting working?
● What changes will promote authentic, purposeful connection between team members?
Successful scaling is all about people. Who needs to be on the team? How will new team members onboard? How will exits be handled? Until these elements are clarified, your team will suffer from expensive mis-hires, below expected contributions, and painful exits. Want to mitigate the inevitable people heartaches you’re likely to face? Here are some key questions to ask:
● How are we going to go find the right people for our team?
● How are we going to onboard those people to our team?
● How are we going to develop people on our team?
● How are we going to manage the process of exiting team members from the business?
Although none of the above 5Cs will surprise you, focusing on these areas while growing a business creates a huge challenge. When you need to make a people-problem pitstop, having support makes all the difference. The BASE Associates team has worked with over 100 founders, CEOs and executive directors to implement the 5Cs mentioned above as part of our Scale Together Accelerator program. From interpersonal tension coaching to meeting facilitation to onboarding support and more, we build deep and trusted relationships with our clients so we can remove hurdles to your team’s success.
Ready to take the next step on your scaling journey? Start by completing our Scale Together Scorecard. It takes less than two minutes and provides you with a personalized report for your organization along with suggestions to improve your score.
I help Founder CEOs of companies between 5 & 40 people who are experiencing early stage success and ready to scale — especially those wanting to build shared responsibility and accountability within their team. Click here to get your free copy of the 5 principles and 6 leadership roles for scaling a sustainable, prosperous company.