Building your company with a team of loyal and competent people is a critical key to success. The problem is that at some point you'll want to take the company to the next level-- and the team that you have built and love might not have the skills to take the business to the next level.
That puts you in the delicate position of not wanting to get stuck in a rut, but also not wanting to let members of the team go because of their loyalty to you. Do you fire some of those employees or move others into lesser positions while new high-caliber employees take the reins? That's the kind of question that will keep you up at night.
If you're starting to feel that your current team does not have the tools or know-how to push your business to the next level, you're in No Man's Land. You love and respect the people who surround you, but you're just not sure they are up to the job, something I heard Doug Tatum talk about this summer. Doug is the author of No Man's Land: Where Growing Companies Fail.
In my work, I often see these phenomena in the financing or accounting team of a company. At some point, the company was big enough to afford a full-time bookkeeper who loyally helped keep the business organized as it grew from $1,000,000 in revenue to $10,000,000.
So now as the company tries to push to $50,000,000 and the accounting, finance and tax options are much more complex, the issue is that as hardworking and devoted as the bookkeeper is, she does not have the skill set to push the company to the next level. And this cannot only hinder growth, but it can also lead to costly and expensive mistakes as you consider new issues or opportunities.
No Man's Land is when your previous strategies-- whether that's your first hires, original fundraising, or first brand design-- no longer helps you move forward and expand. When you reflect on your own company, are you stuck in no man's land?
If so, it's not an easy thing to come to terms with or diagnose. One question you might want to ask yourself is if you were to build a new team today to manage your current organization, what would it look like and what skill sets would you want around the table?
Once you have this strawman in place, how does it compare to what you have today and what weaknesses have you identified?
My best advice if you think you are in this situation don't tackle it alone. These are tough issues to deal with in isolation. Consider approaching a mentor, business coach, or a peer group that you are involved with to talk about your concerns and build a plan to move you out of No Man's Land.