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Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. What is crucial is that we learn from them. And especially in this cover-up culture, we own them and share them with others so we can all learn and grow. It won’t always be fun. For example, share a story of failure. But embracing them and sharing them, thinking about what went wrong so that it can be fixed next time, will bring respect.
Authentic, compassionate, transparent leaders with a touch of curiosity are the future. However, to foster all these qualities, you cannot lead without respect. So swallow that pride and share your lessons learned. And help yourself and others in the process. It’s a win-win.
And so to work. How can I contribute to this conversation now that I’ve set the scene? Given the challenging times that all businesses have experienced over the past few years, our business has grown rapidly, scaling up our business model, developing and expanding into new markets. I would put all of this on a pedestal of success, but it was not without difficulties. Whoever said that the road to success was never smooth was not kidding!
Reflecting on our trip, here are my key takeaways:
Culture is king
I’m all about the value of culture. I can wax lyrical about it for hours. I cannot stress its importance to a sustainable, agile and happy workplace. Happy people equals happy customers equals a happy business.
Often, in times of rapid growth, numbers and metrics are prioritized over fluff. However, growth cannot be sustained without these foundations, values and cultures on which to achieve great things. Even if you have a great culture, especially in times of growth, you need to prioritize it even more.
Think about it. We all know how easy it can be to get caught up in a time-sensitive project that promises big things. However, if no one in the business knows what the vision is, or how this project and its amazing results will contribute to the overall purpose, growth will not be sustainable.
Remembering who you are as a business is key.
Communication is queen
Then, you need to articulate it to your teams. Defining a strategy and aligning it with your culture and values is one thing. Announcing this team and getting them involved is something else.
Going back to my previous example. By focusing on the ROI of a project, it can be easy to lose people along the way (physically and mentally) if we don’t keep them updated and on board. And if people aren’t engaged, or connected to your mission and vision and understand the role they play, leading through rapid growth will be difficult.
Ironic indeed, given the financial impact we know engagement can have.
Related: 6 Essential Components of a Solid Growth Strategy
People are princes and princesses
This one has two elements. Your people and your clients. I’ll start with your people. They are your greatest and most powerful asset. You hired them because they’re great, fit your culture and your business. They are the reason why you are in this stage of business.
So why are we hiring in a hurry when we are growing fast? To fill the position, check the box and move on? We all know the cost of hiring the wrong person, both financially and culturally. Because time is not our friend. You know what, find the time. Or repent at your leisure.
Roles need to be filled quickly; Contam. But the key is to spend time identifying what the role really requires. What skills do you need to have and just as importantly, what are the characteristics and attitudes you need to have for the position and the company. It’s a question of attitude versus ability.
Start with the right person, invest in them, give them ownership and do it every day. This is how you can build a company that will grow long into the future.
Your customers are just as important. Without them you have no business. Successful companies are built around their customers; exceeding expectations and excellent service. To do this, you need to understand their needs and wants and exceed them. You need to be in constant communication, actively listening to feedback. I hope this is what drives your rapid growth. That should be the driving force.
Related: The key to achieving your company’s growth strategy is talent
Set yourself up for success
Growth isn’t everything. This does not always mean success and safety. It can be, however, if you lay the groundwork. So before you dive headfirst into it, take a step back and assess the status quo. Highlight areas for improvement and fix them. Add to the problems and only serve to amplify them.
Continue to grow only when you are ready to succeed. If you are already the best you can be, then you can scale successfully and sustainably.
Related: 3 Ways To Know If Your Growth Strategy Is Actually Helping You Grow