Here’s how to get perspective when “Something is Always Broken”
Your organization is growing at rocket-speed. Last year’s goals are now this quarter’s goals, and soon you’ll need to double the size of your team to keep up with these demands. Does this sound like chaos to you?
During hyper-growth — 100%+ YOY growth — the stakes are high, and so are the demands. As the terrain around you shifts, things will break. Systems will need to be replaced, others will snap under the increased pressure, and something will always be broken. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a hyper-growth leader is this: When something is always broken, it’s time to step up. Here’s how to respond to the broken systems around you as an operator, lead and coach.
Step up as an Operator
During hyper-growth, problems are inevitable. By engaging the right people on the team to fix problems, they will feel like integral members of the company responsible in part for finding solutions. And as a bonus, they will bring fresh perspectives to the issues at hand. Identifying methods for finding and fixing problems is an important first step in the process. After identifying your baseline, delegate tasks to the system owner or a department. Then, create a culture of results by defining what “done” looks like, and celebrating the little wins before tackling the next problem.
Step up as a Leader
Often, and especially in startups, employees are coming from larger, more established companies. When systems fall apart, they look for ready-made solutions, and too often panic when they realize “normal” protocols don’t yet exist. As a leader, your role is to lead by example, and assure your teams that the breaking and fixing is a normal part of hyper-growth. This newly defined “normal” is simply an opportunity for growth and development. By taking an honest, straightforward approach that encourages transparency and accountability, you transform hyper-growth from a fear to an adventure with clear victories amid the challenges.
Step up as a Coach
When things take a downward turn, it’s common for negative self-talk to take over and create a tidal wave of panic. Meet your team’s emotional needs first by assuring them that this is normal, then use it as an opportunity to coach them through the uncertainty. Remind your team that everything they are thinking and feeling is a sign of growth. Reaffirm your vision for them and help them see that self-doubt can be transformed into potential. When this shift takes place, your team members will be able to see hyper-growth as a challenge and a stepping stone in their career trajectory.
During hyper-growth, systems will break and teams will doubt their ability to keep up with the rapid changes. As a Conscious Leader, it’s your job to step up, prioritize and set a new culture in which finding solutions is part of the journey. For more hyper-growth strategies, read my latest articles on Hot Topics, and download my hyper-growth white paper here.