Growth Stages Operations Strategy Team

Stage 6 – Compete from strength by developing a strategic perspective

Stage 6 Company (96-160 employees)

There’s a rhythm now.

Patterns of behavior are established. Processes are in place. The morning walk through your company has an air of familiarity that feels good, feels comfortable. Your confidence in your staff is strong.

If you’ve captured the imagination of your managers, they now provide the stability of making good decisions, connecting with their direct reports, providing you sound input that keeps you updated on critical issues.

This level of engagement is critical in Stage 6 because it is time for you to, once again, shift your view, your attention and your energy. The company must pay strong attention to its strategic orientation in the market place. With 96 – 160 employees, it’s time to look beyond the arena you have built and prepare to take the company into a more challenging competitive environment.

You must set in motion the longer view, move from an annual planning perspective into a multi-year strategic perspective and drive the organizational culture as a visible leader. Emphasis is once again on people as your top growth gate with profit/revenue second.

As the leader of a Stage 6 company, your top 5 challenges include:

  1. The need to have better staff-buy in
  2. The impact that staff satisfaction has on the company’s profitability
  3. New staff orientation
  4. Weak profit design
  5. Hiring quality staff

You must engage a unique blend of managerial and visionary styles. Orchestrating a company’s move into Stage 6 requires a leader who believes strongly in the power of effective and consistent communication. Your leadership style must help create synergy by connecting people to each other, be able to heal rifts in a team, and motivate during stressful times.

It’s also time to revisit some areas that you might assume are okay:

  • How’s the vision? Still clear? Just make sure you’ve revisited this with your management team to make sure there’s not been any erosion. This doesn’t happen because people don’t believe in the stated vision; it happens because you’ve trained and developed strong-minded staff. They will be testing and questioning the direction of the company.
  • Are values still driving behavior? Again, check in frequently with how these are being adhered to in your company. Are the values still a part of determining who gets hired? Are people making decisions based on those values?
  • Have your vision and values survived the complexity level to which your company has grown? If so, then your culture should be well defined. Any erosion of the culture you wanted to create will manifest itself clearly at this stage of the company’s growth.
  • Do you have a powerful strategic plan in place? More critical than ever is your ability to put a strategic plan in place that focuses the company’s resources on opening up new markets, refreshing products and/or services and directing the company’s future growth.

Do it correctly and you’re on your way to Stage 7, the final stage of a small business.

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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