Five Tips for Scaling the People Side of Your Business

When growing your business, it’s always a balancing act to scale your team and organization to keep up with business flow. When the drumbeat of increasing revenue gets louder, how do you make sure your organization can answer the call?

Do you just hire more, do some restructuring, or should existing employees be asked to take on more? In growing organizations, often teams become overstressed and feel under-resourced.  Yet, the desire for growth is intentional, so how do you scale your venture so the right people are in place doing the right things, and the expansion you’re creating will succeed?

Here are five tips to keep in mind when scaling the talent side of your business:

Create a Success Profile for yourself. Know what your role really is or should be, as growth demands that founders and owners make the transition from functional expert to leader. The Success Profile should describe the mandate/mission statement of your position, your core accountabilities and measures of success. Having a vision for your own performance can help you hold yourself accountable as you navigate beyond operational success to achieving the strategic results you desire.

Hire the best people you can find to be part of your management team. Until these key players are in place – and it can take years to get the mix right – it will be difficult to transition from being the active tactician to the strategist who plays in the bigger picture with a focus on the road ahead. If innovation, strategy and execution drive real scalability and it appears they do, the right management talent is essential. Whether that’s one or two people initially, or four or five, your growth goals won’t be realized without a great team in place.

Develop your team members to function beyond their technical/functional roles. This may apply to your key individual contributors as much as it does to those recently promoted into management positions. Encourage them to be part of the conversations on strategy and seek their input whenever you can. Aligning that experience with leadership activities is essential to developing their capabilities.

Push decision making further and deeper to get quicker and better decisions. Team members who are close to the front line with your customers can have the best handle on the right course of action; the more you can trust them to make decisions, the more value they add, and the less that’s on your plate. Decision points with clear lines of authority are essential for your business to function optimally.

Know your corporate values or do a refresh of these if you haven’t done so in awhile. They are the anchors that represent the behaviors and beliefs that underline the work your people do and how they interact with your customer base and each other. Scaling your business may require a revisit of these values, as certain behaviors may become more important over time. Above all, in a rapidly growing environment, corporate values offer direction to individuals when situations require judgment calls, regardless of the situation they face.  

Scaling a small business or entrepreneurial venture is a major shift where people belong to teams and hand-offs to various groups begin. Your organization’s structure may need to reshape intentionally to bring order to chaos in the face of fast organic growth. It’s better to create the structure and expectations you need before teams become too complex and ways of working stand in the way of your continued success.

If you’d like to learn more about scaling the people side of your business, read the first chapter on Organizational Design in my book Basic to Brilliant: The Definitive Guide to Transforming Your People Practices. A handbook for the small to mid-size enterprise.

We can help you create Success Profiles for yourself and your team; if you’d like to learn more about this valuable management process, contact us.