Your business has its own groove, and growth
can quickly interrupt this groove causing chaos.
Now groove isn’t the most technical (or academic) phrase I could have used; I could have said, ‘Your business enjoys the property of homeostasis.’ If I’d written that, I wonder if your eyes would have begun to glaze over. Inside your business, there will be visible and invisible elements continually working to maintain stability and constancy. There is a unique groove or rhythm to how your business runs today, and this operating model does not welcome change.
Irrespective of whether your business is operating effectively or efficiently, it can still experience growth. Oftentimes, this growth is planned, however at other times it can be unexpected. When the growth occurs, things change and your groove or homeostasis is disrupted.
If your organisation is like most, managing this disruption will often come down to the leadership team trying to fight the fires as they’re discovered. These fires can start in the most unexpected places, and by people you would least expect to be lighting fires during times of exciting growth.
But here’s the thing
" Unless your leaders have the right skills, knowledge and experience, the way they respond to these fires can have a negative impact on the long-term future or your organisation. It can also trigger immediate pain for the business. "
Let me add something here; it is rare to find a leadership team that had the passion and time to really understand how to lead people through business growth and change before the growth or change occurred. While your leaders may agree on how one employee will respond to the growth, they could probably name at least a dozen others who will react very differently.
The reality is that every one of your employees, including your senior leadership team, will react to the business growth in their own unique manner. Not all of these reactions will be positive, we know many won’t be. So, is it possible to grow a business without the chaos having a negative impact on the business? The answer is yes, but possibly not the way you think it should. Homeostasis, or the groove of your business, is easily disrupted. When your business grows, it disrupts the groove which causes chaos. The way this ‘chaos’ shows up, may seem unpredictable and appear to be random to you.
- It will be random – unless you expect it.
- It will look unpredictable – unless you understand why people react to change the way they do.
- It will be uncomfortable – unless you know how to use the chaos for good.
- It will be costly – unless you invest in the right areas before the growth occurs.
Complex systems like your business do not like change, and business growth involves change. Here are five questions your leadership team should ask prior to growing your business.
- What skills or knowledge do we need before growing our business?
- What must we do to create a comprehensive plan to successfully lead our team through this growth, change and chaos?
- What will be the direct and indirect impact of this growth on our business? Remember, your business is a complex system of connected processes; when your business grows, these processes may no longer be appropriate or able to handle the demands created by the growth.
- What additional resources do we need before growing our business?
- Who do we need to help us grow our business successfully?