Growth Stages Operations

Stage 1 – Non-negotiable rule: Embrace chaos

Stage 1 Company (1-10 employees)

Chaos often rules at a Stage 1 company (1-10 employees). For some business owners, this can be energetic. For others, it is disconcerting. But owners of a Stage 1 company should worry less about managing the chaos and instead worry about managing expectations of employees.

The time to focus on processes and procedures will come later, when the company enters Stage 2 (11 – 19 employees). In the meantime, follow these tips on how not to waste time trying to stabilize your company. Instead, embrace chaos – command the team and inspire the employees.

1. Recognize what your chaos is. It’s going to be different for different companies and situations. Understand how it ‘shows up’ in yours and be prepared to address it, not control it. Be honest and forthcoming with your employees. Don’t assume they know the environment of a small startup. Help them recognize the chaos and lead by example.

2. Clearly communicate your company’s priorities to all employees. Help them set their own priorities so they line up with the companies and find many opportunities to review these priorities. Don’t worry about changing priorities when and if necessary. Hanging onto a priority that is no longer relevant because you either got busy or you are feeling you made a mistake creates a lack of credibility in leadership.

3. Create the vision and share it with your employees. As a Stage 1 company, the vision is held by the CEO. At a different stage of growth that vision expands to getting input from your leadership team. But as a Stage 1 company, you have to help people see what you are seeing and believe what you believe.

This article, derived from content created by FlashPoint!, is based on the 7 Stages of Growth concepts developed by the Origin Institute and James Fischer. It was contributed by Jacqueline Sousa, a certified Growth Curve Specialist and regional director of the Florida SBDC at FIU.

Leave a Comment