Opinions expressed by londonbusinessblog.com contributors are their own.
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. It is crucial 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. Sharing a cautionary tale about failure, for example. But embracing them and sharing, thinking about what went wrong to make up for it next time, will bring respect.
Authentic, compassionate, transparent leaders with a touch of curiosity are the future. But to cherish all these qualities, you cannot lead without respect. So swallow that pride and share your lessons learned. And help yourself and others. It’s a win win.
And so to business. Now that I’ve set the tone, how can I contribute to this conversation? Given the challenging times that all companies have been through in recent years, our company has grown rapidly, scaled the business model, evolved and expanded into new markets. I would put all this on the success pedestal, but it was not without its difficulties. Whoever said the road to success was never smooth sailing was not kidding!
Looking back on our trip, here are my top takeaways:
Culture is king
I am concerned with the value of culture. I can wax lyrical about it for hours. I cannot emphasize its importance for a sustainable, flexible and happy workplace. Happy people equal happy customers equals happy business.
In times of rapid growth, numbers and statistics often take precedence over the fuzzy stuff. However, growth cannot be sustained without these foundations, values and cultures on which great things can be achieved. Even if you have a great culture, especially in times of growth, you should prioritize it even higher.
Think about it. We all know how easy it can be to get caught up in a time-sensitive project that promises great things. But if no one in the company knows what the vision is, or how this project and its stunning results will contribute to the overall goal, the growth will not be sustainable.
Remembering who you are as a company is critical.
Communication is queen
Then you need to make this clear to your teams. Defining the strategy and aligning it with your culture and values is one thing. Communicating this to the team and involving them is another.
I return to my previous example. By focusing on the return on investment of a project, it can be easy to lose people along the way (physically and mentally) if we don’t keep them up to date and have their commitment. And if people are not engaged, or not connected to your mission and vision and understand the role they play, it will be difficult to grow quickly.
Ironic really, given the impact on finances that we know engagement can bring.
Related: 6 Essential Components of a Solid Growth Strategy
People are the prince and princesses
This one has two elements. Your people and your customers. I’ll start with your people. They are your greatest and most powerful asset. You hired them because they are great, they fit your culture and your company. They are the reason you are at this stage of the business.
So why are we hiring fast when we’re growing fast? Check the box and continue? We all know the cost of hiring the wrong person, both financially and culturally. Because time is not our friend. You know what, make time for it. Or repent at your leisure.
Roles must be filled quickly; I get it. But it’s critical to spend time identifying what the role really requires. Which skills are must-have and equally important, what are the must-have characteristics and attitudes for the position and the company. It’s a matter of attitude versus aptitude.
Start with the right person, invest in them, give them ownership and do it every day. This is how you build a company that will grow well into the future.
Your customers are just as important. Without them you have no business. Successful businesses are built around their customers; exceed expectations and excel in service. To do this, you need to understand and exceed their needs and desires. You must constantly communicate and actively listen to feedback. I hope this is your rapid growth. It must be a driving force.
Related: The Key to Achieving Your Company’s Growth Strategies Is Talent
Prepare yourself for success
Growth is not everything. It doesn’t always mean success and security. However, it is possible if you lay the foundation. So before you dive headlong into it, take a step back and assess the status quo. Mark the areas for improvement and correct them. Scale along with issues and you just need to intensify them.
Only strive for growth if 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