Leadership

Everwise Answers: Managing Through Growth

By EverwiseMay 11, 2015

On the Everwise Answers forum, our community of experienced mentors give advice on the sorts of business cases, dilemmas and questions that our high-potential protégés frequently encounter. These are expert opinions. For more business best practices delivered right to your inbox, sign up here.

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Question: As her company quickly expands, a dedicated manager can no longer provide her team with constant care. How can she keep the culture intact? Everwise Mentors offer ways to navigate the growing pains.

 

Jackie prides herself on giving excellent support to her team. The company she works for has been growing rapidly, which is exciting, but Jackie is finding it hard to provide the same level of attention. How can Jackie maintain the positive office culture that is so important to her as her company continues to grow?

Here’s a summary of our mentors’ best advice from the discussion on the Everwise Answers forum.

1. Celebrate

Growth marks a time of transition for a company. What worked before will have to be adjusted to accommodate. Until these processes are ironed out, unmet expectations can lead to frustration. But Jackie’s right to focus on the excitement, and she can remind her team of that, thank them for hard work, and reiterate the overall positive developments.

“Celebrate success together, even if it’s a small but significant progress in the right direction,” prompts sales executive Puneet Raman.

2. Establish A Supportive Culture

Communication within a small team can be more manageable for one person. Although scenarios change with rapid growth, Jackie should determine how to keep her team in the loop about what’s going on, even if she can no longer engage as much one-on-one.

“Establish (or if it exists) maintain, the open door policy. Emphasize its importance to the team on every occasion”, stresses compliance officer Tsadi Shvo.

Even with such a practice, she needs to focus her attention and figure out ways to leverage, since there are limits to what one person can do.

Brand strategist Elise Krentzel recommends that Jackie “let them know that while the team is expanding your time is not. You are one person who prides herself on the relationship so far developed and you wish to maintain those bonds”. How to do this is a shared responsibility for her and the team.

In fact, team members should rise to the challenge of the company’s growth and be there more for each other. “Rather than priding yourself on providing support for your team, learn to pride yourself on building a culture of mutual encouragement and support that not only doesn’t depend on you but ultimately does not require you”, suggests consultant Vince Skolny.

3. Set An Example

Rapid growth is occurring because of things being done right. Jackie can take note of what has brought them to this point, and how she became successful herself. What are the steps she’s taken to become a leader? How does she lead? And how does she impart the culture she values for the company to her team?

“I would recommend she build some facts,” counsels banking strategist Ali Soheil. “How many people is she supporting? How much time does it take to complete each activity in general? Provide some illustration of how these numbers are growing”.

Jackie can begin to train a new team of leaders with documentation of her own approach.

“By influencing and growing those around her via leading and teaching specific skills and concepts, and beyond that, daily modeling those skills/concepts and rewarding their use; she sets the stage to make a difference going forward, even when she isn’t able to do it personally with each individual,” emphasizes IT executive Bic Vogel.

4. Delegate

“Grooming a positive office culture is not just about ‘giving care to the team’ but allowing it to grow and let the individuals on the team acquire autonomy and confidence, ” encourages PR specialist Sophie Martin-Chantepie.

Jackie should realize that the best leaders develop other leaders. As this growth for the company means growth within the team, individuals will grow into new roles, which is also an opportunity for Jackie.

“Freeing up your time will then allow you to take on projects and opportunities that will stretch you and help you grow to your next role as well,” points out Perry Wedum, a regional vice president for Experis.

Now that Jackie is prepared to train, she must select those from her team that are best for the job. This next line of leaders will help to carry her work forward and continue the company culture.

“Train them on your techniques so they can ensure everyone gets the mentoring and professional development they need. It may be more time consuming at first but it is an excellent investment,” encourages banker Mary Ann Felix.

Resources

There is plenty of great guidance available about these sorts of challenges, here are a few suggestions:

The Mentors

Thanks to the Everwise mentors for their ideas, and to all the others who shared their recommendations on the forum.

  • Puneet Raman (India) Head of North India Sales team for Enterprise Growth Account vertical at Tata Communications, expert in new business acquisition
  • Tsadi Shvo (California) Global Product Compliance Specialist, expert in global program management
  • Elise Krentzel (Texas) Sales and Brand Strategist, expert in new business development
  • Vince Skolny (California) Founder of the Skolny Organization, expert in marketing promotion
  • Ali Soheil (Canada) Managing Direction of Gglobal Delivery & Strategy at the Bank of Montreal, expert in talent development
  • Bic Vogel (Florida) Assistant VP of Application Services at Iatric Systems, expert in influencing executive teams
  • Sophie Martin-Chantepie (France) Public Relations and Communications Specialist, expert in employee re-engagement
  • Perry Wedum (Minnesota) Regional VP at Experis, expert in information technologies and services
  • Mary Ann Felix (California) Assistant VP of Retail Branches at Orange County’s Credit Union, expert in building customer loyalty

 

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