Growth Stages Operations Team Uncategorized

Stage 4 – Complexity level increasing: Focus on experienced managers

Stage 4 Company (35-57 employees)

This isn’t the time to think about saving money by hiring inexperienced managers. Once your company reaches Stage 4 (35 – 57 employees), you are in need of managers who ‘have been there, done that’.

As CEO, you now are spending about 70% of your time ‘managing’. Getting the right people on board to take your company through this stage of growth is all about bringing on experienced managers, creating management systems and maintaining your market position.

Still hanging on to your need to control everything? Still playing specialist or out there ‘visioning’ your next opportunity? Sorry – wrong time, wrong focus.

Stage 4 is all about internal focus, it’s all about internal processes. If you need to be convinced, here are the Top 5 Challenges for a Stage 4 company:

  1. Weak project management
  2. Difficulty diagnosing problems
  3. Employee turnover
  4. Not getting systems in place
  5. Your organization is uninformed about company growth

Remember Stage 3? It was all about delegation. All about you, the CEO, letting go. The necessity of that lesson will become painfully clear if you head into Stage 4 looking like a cat dangling from the living room drapes. You must LET GO!

Why is one of your challenges ‘employee turnover’? Because if you haven’t started getting ‘strong, experienced managers’ in place, your employees will leave. Remember, people stay at a company because they respect their manager. If you can begin to provide your employees with managers who know how to manage the work of the company, as well as manage the people, your employees feel less frustrated, work fewer hours, are much more productive and receive solid input on their performance on a regular basis.

Stage 4 is also about helping each manager feel confident about their team, about their work, about their own identity as a team. Your job is to help them gain that confidence. Don’t worry about integrating these managers across the company — just yet. Help them find ‘their own way’, work with them to be accountable as their team evolves and matures. You will avoid finger-pointing and department disputes if you let each manager build a stronghold and develop their own sense of commitment and team-ness.

Are you getting the message here? This isn’t just about ‘training’ qualified people to move up in your organization. Yes, you can do that. However, experience tells us that it’s generally just an easy way for a CEO to avoid doing the harder work – finding experienced, already trained people who are hardwired to help them grow their business.

Successful CEOs surround themselves with knowledgeable, experienced people. They want to be challenged on decisions, knowing that the more diversity of ideas they bring on board, the more depth they create in their organization.

As you moved from Stage 3 to Stage 4, you also went through a Flood Zone: an increase in the level of activity. Because you are teetering on shifting the major control of your company over to experienced managers, remember to focus on key processes, key systems that will provide you foundational building blocks to manage that shift.

Your company is growing up. The biggest question to ask yourself is: ‘Are you’?
The answer must be ‘yes’ if you want to get to Stage 5.

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.


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