During the GIE Landscape show in Louisville this fall, I led a table discussion with 9 companies at the $5 million level. We discussed the obstacles holding them back from growing to $10 million and beyond. Only one out of the nine leaders suggested that pricing was an issue. The rest of the group focused on the following obstacles:
1. The role of the owner has to grow and change:
The owner as CEO has to make bigger decisions, shifting from micro management to macro management. They have to get out of the day-to-day, without losing touch with key clients. (Even CEOs of Fortune 500’s stay in touch with their key clients.) They have to grow their intellect and be constantly exposed to new ways of thinking and leading. In one of the companies sitting at the table, the owner thought his leadership team had grown beyond his current abilities, and that he needed to catch up and really stretch himself in-order to lead his team into the future. Others sitting at the table didn’t think their leadership team was strong enough. How strong is your team in relation to your current skills?
2. The company organizational structure must change:
Their company’s organizational structure must necessarily evolve and change, and the leader must lead this change. The leader needs the free time and head space and fresh input in order to create the organization that will support/allow the new growth.
3. The company must build its bench strength:
Developing your bench strength means there is always one or two people being trained to step up and take the position above them. As people grow, they must start learning more people and management skills; you must start teaching them these skills. It can also mean hiring from the outside when new talent is required. For example, you don’t want to turn your best salesperson into a bad sales manager. To achieve all this, the CEO must ensure the company is constantly recruiting and developing new people. It must become a Destination Company®. (For a free download of my book, Destination CompanyTM, or to get the paperback, go here.)
Jeffrey’s Breakthrough idea: What got you here to your current level of growth, won’t get you there to your new level of growth.
- Review your bench this winter. With your leadership team meeting, grade each employee on their Values and Performance, and identify where future holes in your organization will materialize as you grow.
- Make ‘building your bench strength’ a strategic priority; review your efforts and results weekly.
- Make sure you are personally being stretched and learning new ways of thinking, through the books you read, the people you meet, the coaches you employ, and the places you visit.