From the desk of Deb Kauffman – Strategic partner

Every organization aspires to grow, whether by increasing revenue or advancing its mission. But a period of high growth can often put strain on the organization’s culture, causing the very individuals who founded the company or fueled its growth to feel disenfranchised. Suddenly employees feel a shift toward “process” as the entrepreneurial climate of earlier days drifts away. They also see new employees joining who have no connection to or understanding of the company’s origin, and who, in their eyes, “dilute” the “established“ culture.

For other companies, cultural strain can arrive unexpectedly with the success of launching their first product, dividing the company in unexpected ways. Suddenly employees who “created” the product are no longer in the spotlight and those “launching“ the product are now the organizational “heroes.”  Often companies are facing this internal discord at the very time when the organization should be operating flawlessly.

So, what can organizations do during high growth periods to ensure they have the cultural foundation to enable their growth? Here are 5 tips to consider:

  1. Determine your north star. What is the one vision, goal, or aspiration you can rally the organization around? If you can paint a clear and inspiring picture of the company’s focus, the journey will be much smoother for all.
  2. Define your culture. What culture is needed for sustained growth? Culture is the “glue” that holds organizations together. Agree on a few simple words that describe the organization and the behaviors you want. Then hold leaders accountable to live them, recognize them, and reward them.
  3. Evaluate the human resources support in place. Is the HR team aligned to  supporting business change or is it still just a recruitment arm or tactical function? Empower your HR team to provide leaders the tools and data they need to help them deliver organizational change and create an effective culture.
  4. Measure employee performance. Do employees know what success looks like for them? Are you messaging that both the “what” AND the “how” are important? When expectations are clear and aligned to the bigger picture, employees are more likely to perform well and contribute to the company’s growth.
  5. Hold leaders accountable to lead. Are leaders being held accountable for leadership or just technical expertise? In periods of high growth companies often value technical skills above all, but without building leadership skills as well, long-term growth will be much more challenging.

Considering these these questions will help you and your organization establish the internal foundations to propel continued growth. Feel free to reach out to our partner Deb ([email protected]) for more information about how we can support your organization through high growth.