Whether I’m working with businesses to build the teams, processes, and systems that they need to scale — and survive their growth — or I’m turning around a larger organization, six critical areas determine success.
For scaling strategies to work, everyone at all levels of your company must be aligned on your vision. In reality, most leaders have different conversations about what’s important and what the business does, causing fatal misalignment. This causes teams to operate in silos that work against each other instead of toward the common goal.
Ensure that everyone is pointing in the same direction and working toward the same goals.
All growing businesses face this challenge: Do you hire people positionally or for the future?
When hiring positionally, you’re filling an immediate need with someone who holds the required skills. However, they might not be inspired by your vision or have a growth mindset to solve tomorrow’s problems. If you aren’t thinking about the future when you hire, you’re hiring the wrong people.
Test for growth-oriented individuals in your hiring process. For example, as a growth-focused business, we ask candidates to create a presentation that aligns their personal goals and aspirations with our core values. This quickly assesses if the candidate thinks expansively.
In most businesses, great employees are promoted into management, which means they no longer do what they excel at. Consequently, the business quickly becomes bloated and ineffective because your most productive, innovative employees stop adding value.
Have checks and balances in place to ensure that your people are doing what they should be doing for the highest impact. For this, you need “people developers” instead of managers. Once you’ve hired or promoted the best, they need to be duplicated: Understand why they excel, document it and develop the people below them to replicate their best practices.
Incentivizing your developers to duplicate themselves and build mastery among subordinates is more effective than traditional management. Link your developer’s KPIs to building high-performing teams so they understand the importance of their core role: building people up to fulfill the role they previously played in the organization.
This is how you embed the right culture and activities in your business.
Without a clear understanding of the right way to do everything in your business, you cannot delegate effectively — and the same mistakes repeat themselves. You and your people must create a playbook that everyone can follow, freeing you to focus on growth.
Start by carrying a piece of paper or notebook with you at all times and writing down everything you do. The left side includes all the epiphanies and results that move the business forward. The right side has everything you never want to do again. Keep adding to your list until you can teach someone how to do everything on the left side and how to avoid doing everything on the right side.
Make short videos detailing how everything in the business should be done, from answering the phone to fulfilling an order. They don’t have to be high-tech; just record best practices on your phone as they happen. All new employees can watch the videos and know exactly how to execute the required standard.
Your team also needs to understand what’s working and what isn’t and how they will personally benefit when the business scales. Track all tasks and activities. At a minimum, hold weekly meetings where everyone reviews where the company is and where it’s going, as well as their role in getting there.
This discipline requires data if you want everyone to know what they should be doing. You can’t duplicate the right activities if you aren’t constantly collecting data on what works and what doesn’t. For example, how many sales calls does a star sales performer make to land 10 meetings in a week? How many meetings do they need to hold to close a deal? These are valuable metrics that can be duplicated, but you won’t know what they are unless you’re tracking your data.
Therefore, founders need to learn to be thirsty for data. The great news is that more people equals more data, provided that everyone has full visibility into the business and shares their knowledge and experiences.
There is only one question here: Are we hitting the target? It’s a yes or no answer. Without clear targets, at best, your business isn’t operating at its potential; at worst, it’s failing.
However, you cannot examine financial performance alone. Culture and operations are equally crucial for scaling and need associated KPIs. For example, you might sacrifice short-term profits to prioritize creating processes for long-term growth.
Focus on three to five things that will move the needle in your business. It could be hiring the right growth-oriented people or segmenting your target market to become far more specific in your messaging. Once you know what they are, you can implement targets around them to take control of your business — and your growth.