Three Things That Slow Down Fast Growth Leaders


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So, you’re a leader in a fast growth company.  That’s heady stuff, but it’s also filled with potential obstacles.  There is so much to do, things are changing all the time, new clients bring new challenges.  You know what they say – new level, new devil.

But here’s the deal – you, as the leader have to be sure that the company is getting the highest level of productivity and commitment from your team.  You have to be sure they are motivated.  You have to make sure they are stretched, but not breaking.

And, to top it all off, you have to avoid those obstacles I mentioned.  The pitfalls that can slow down your growth, and bring your team to a screeching halt.

Oh, there’s a list.  But in this episode, I’m going to talk about the big 3.

First up (and I know you know this, so it’s just a reminder) – what got you here won’t necessarily get you there.  It’s a hard thing, but the reality is that all that change, and growth brings more responsibility; a need for larger, or a different skill set than you needed from your team in the past.  In a phrase – you’ll just need more.  And I don’t mean more work hours, you need smarter not harder.

You need more innovation, and experience and knowledge from your team.  You need to be comfortable delegating, and have confidence knowing that not only will the thing get done, it will be done well – and maybe even – better than you had imagined.  You need your team to (I say it all the time) bring something to the party.  Contribute.

And yes, sometimes it’s just a training gap.  Actually, that’s when it’s easy.  Because you can just provide more training and bring the person up to speed.

But, unfortunately, sometimes it’s a lot more than that.  Sometimes that person simply isn’t up to what you’re asking of them.  They don’t have the experience, or knowledge, or skill to get you what you need..

Now, I know it’s a VERY hard thing to say, and even harder to experience – realizing someone you have worked side by side with for maybe years, someone who was an early adopter, someone who bought into your dream when it was a mir twinkle – it’s awful to come to the realization that that person simply doesn’t fit the needs of their job anymore.

But remember a couple of things – first, as you continue to get frustrated because the job isn’t getting done, that person can feel your frustration.  Even if you never say a thing.  They know they are disappointing you.  And so they probably try harder, only to see that it’s not enough.  That makes them feel bad.  No one wants to think they aren’t making the grade.  It’s demoralizing, and saps your energy and enthusiasm.  So while you already know you aren’t happy, you have to keep in mind – they aren’t happy either.

And second – while the most obvious answer is to let them go – there are other alternatives.  Just because they can’t do the job you need, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a tremendous help to a more senior person.  Your best option might be to bring someone in above them.

OK, yes that’s a hard pill for them to swallow – but if you manage it right, you get the best of all worlds.  You get the experience and chops you need in the job, the new person gets support from someone who knows the ropes, and your veteran team member stays with the team.

The next pitfall is waiting too long to hire for capacity.

Small businesses face this all the time.  I don’t want to hire until I have the revenue coming in, but by the time the revenue is coming in, everyone is stretched beyond their limit and we have massive capacity issues.

…You have to be sure they are motivated.  You have to make sure they are stretched, but not breaking.

Well, that’s not a small business problem – it’s a business problem.  Businesses of all sizes fail to hire in a timely way.  Here’s the secret – you have to hire a bit, but not too much, ahead of capacity.  And that means, you have to have a plan.

Map out what work you have, and how much you are expecting in a given period.  Then figure out how much each person can produce.  Once you know that, then you can create a roadmap of what you expect to come in, and when it makes sense to bring on a new person.

And remember – don’t be like me.  I used to sidestep hiring someone because I didn’t have $120,000 for a year’s salary.  But the truth is, I don’t’ need the full year’s salary – because if someone doesn’t’ pay for themselves in 3 months, then you need to rethink having them on the team.  So, you only need $30,000 – the first 3 months’ salary.

And the final pitfall? YOU aren’t growing.

Yep, it’s all about you.  If you aren’t growing as a person, then you aren’t growing as a leader.  And if you aren’t growing as a leader how do you expect your company to continue to grow?

If you aren’t careful, your role could outpace you; grow beyond your capacity. And, your team could too.  So it’s up to you to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Get more knowledge, expand your thinking, and above all – get help.

Recently we hit on a growth spurt, and while this isn’t our first – I do have to say this one has been bumpier than most.  We’re at a different level, there are more of us, there are more clients, we’re upgrading our systems and on and on.

One thing I realized is that I have to get back into some sort of coaching or peer support.  A Mastermind or Coach or Community.  Trust me, your perspective really changes when you’re reminded that you aren’t one of one.

So, I say – reach out for ideas and support.  Because the alternative – just rehashing your ideas and experience over and over – will just result in rehashed results.  You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

So, one of your employees just told you that she’s pregnant.  Feeling overwhelmed, with no idea where to start?  After all, HR just got dumped on your plate.  It’s not your zone of genius, and you don’t want it to be.

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Mention that you have company rules and regulations and you expect them to abide by them.  And mention if you have any other documents you expect them to sign, like and Inventions or Confidentiality agreement.

Then comes the all important at will statement, and the sign off.

Now, I know many times people like to include information about things like vacation and other time off.  If you do want to add in the language, be sure you have disclaimers stating that the company can change those policies at any time – you don’t want to be locked into a vacation policy that no longer applies.

So see – a properly worded offer letter can provide all the employment confirmation you need to start your new employee.

Hold off on the employee agreement for your C suite level hires.

If you found this information helpful, please subscribe and share.

And if you’re struggling with how to get your business off the ground, and what comes next, check out the Leader’s Journey Business Builder.  I designed this completely free video series to help you with figuring out who your customer is and where to find her, how to sell without selling, how to package and deliver your service and much more.

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