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Imposing Structure Amid Rapid Growth

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Of course we're consistently happy to chat with business owners and for the most part, they are anxious to share some stories with us. Today the Inc. staff had lunch with Shoba Purushothaman, CEO of New York City based company, The NewsMarket. Shoba, whom we’ve written about in the past, was quite clear in discussing her company's most recent headache (albeit a good headache to have): The company has grown so much in the past few years, and in order to maintain that growth, she and her management team need to infuse a formal structure into the company to keep things running smoothly.

It seems a total hassle to revamp a culture that's worked since a start-up's inception. How do you suddenly tell your first employees they’ll now be evaluated every few months, or that they'll be required to attend training every year, or even that they'll have to adhere to a slew of brand new HR policies? It may be a bit awkward at first, but hierarchy and order are necessary evils as a company finds its way from start-up to high-growth mode.

For Shoba's part, she's said her company has taken to the change quite well. After hiring a seasoned manager as The NewsMarket's COO, Shoba has managed to rally her employees to partake in training on time management, weekly priority meetings and periodic evaluations. "I think they love it because they feel like the company is growing up," Shoba says. Next, the company is planning what it calls its World Summit, a weekend for employees from each of the company's offices in the UK, India, Asia and Europe to meet for a weekend in New York.

It would be interesting to hear how some other fast-growing companies are juggling the constraints of growth and a need for a little internal spring-cleaning. Are there any counter-intuitive approaches to making the most of a rather difficult and often painful transition?

Last updated: Apr 14, 2005




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