Solid leadership is critical during every phase of a company’s evolution. This is probably most important during a time when a business undergoes a period of rapid growth.
According to serial entrepreneur Firas Kittaneh, the challenges that occur during this phase include managing cash flow, responding to competitive threats, and fostering a collaborative culture. Businesses that function in a dynamic sector “have to be prepared for constant change,” Kittaneh says. Leaders should “internalize the idea that disruption is the new normal” and focus on training that promotes agility in the workforce.
Here are additional tips to consider if your business is experiencing (or is on the cusp of experiencing) accelerated growth:
Make sure someone is looking beyond the present. This can be an extremely busy time, requiring an “all hands on deck” mentality from the CEO or business owner on down. In the same respect, some focus should remain on what’s likely to happen after things settle down.
Ideally, says leadership and management author Art Petty, you have (a) an individual or team that’s “accountable for looking beyond the moment to a future scenario when rapid growth abates,” and (b) someone who is “laser-focused on the operations of the business” and can closely monitor “processes, systems, infrastructure, and quality.”
The best approach, Petty contends, is to “cultivate a culture of continuous improvement” that addresses obstacles, promotes transparency, and ensures that your company is prepared for the next growth phase.
Never neglect customer loyalty and service. It should be a no-brainer, but businesses swept up in a frenzy of growth sometimes neglect the very customers who helped get them there. Regardless of other demands on your time and resources, always keep a close eye on the quality of your offerings and on maintaining a high level of customer service.
If anything, having a satisfied customer base is more important now than ever.
Keep your lines of communication open. With your team focused on making sure things continue to run smoothly, you also want to stay in touch with people at all levels in the organization. Effective leaders find time to update their workforce on any new demands, expectations, challenges, etc., during this busy time.
Leaders also promote creative solutions to problems created by rapid growth. Leverage digital technology (chat rooms, video-conferencing, etc.) so employees are able to “exchange ideas, information, and questions … at company, department, and team levels,” says technology CEO Rich Kneece. These lines of communication lead to stronger ties between co-workers, as well as to a productive transfer of knowledge.
Recognize and reward those who contribute to growth. Customers are the source of new, explosive demand for your products and services, but employees are the ones who help meet that demand. Look for ways to recognize the value of employees’ daily contributions to business success and regularly “check in” to see how well they’re coping with their workloads during this busy time. Ask them what resources you can provide that will “help them with the additional stress that inevitably comes with strong growth.”
CEOs and business owners yearn for a time when their enterprise undergoes accelerated expansion. As long as they monitor internal processes, maintain high quality in products and delivery, and do all in their power to avoid employee burn-out, these leaders will see success on a level they themselves may not have dreamed of before.