In my previous post, I touched briefly on three big barriers to scaling the growth of your company: Undeveloped Leadership, Lack of Systems, and Misreading Market Dynamics. Now I’d like to take a bit of a closer look at the topic of Undeveloped Leadership.
When you’re trying to scale your business you can’t do “business as usual.” You may recall the classic I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel work on the assembly line in a candy factory. As the production speed increases, they can’t keep up. They stuff their mouths and their blouses with candy in a vain attempt to keep up with the increased output. It’s one of the best-known (and most hilarious) comedy routines of all time.
When that sketch reflects the way your business runs, however, it’s not funny. If you’re serious about scaling your business, you can’t simply ask people to go faster. The decisions your leaders have to make are different. The skills required to manage one other individual are completely different than those required to manage a team. If you’re asking leaders to assume more responsibility, you need to prepare them for the challenges they will face. What will change? What will they need to know? How will you help them develop the skills they need?
You can have your employees take online classes and participate in webinars. You can send them to conferences where they will be taught the skills they need—and interact with peers in similar situation to learn what really works. You can have them read recommended books on the topics that pertain to them. You can have them read blogs and online newsletters that keep them abreast of the latest developments and trends. And you can have a business coach work with them one-on-one to develop the specific management skills they need.
What will this cost you? Some seminars and webinars are free. Many blogs and newsletters are as well. But it’s not about saving money—it’s about equipping your leaders to handle new responsibilities. In Scaling Up, Verne Harnish suggests that 2 percent to 3 percent of your payroll is in the ballpark for training.
You want to grow you business? That’s great, but are your employee/leaders equipped to deal with the new challenges they’ll face as you do that? It’s not just a matter of doing things faster. What’s your plan for developing leaders who are up to the task?