Running a fast-growing business, I've often encountered what I refer to as "threshold moments" that reflect the next stage in our evolution.

Recognizing these moments and continuously reinventing ourselves has been the key to ensuring Launchpad effectively handles our growth over time without compromising the quality we deliver to clients, and the culture we've built internally. It's all too easy to sit back, read our own PR, and talk about what we have accomplished in such a short time. Getting caught in that trap is a recipe for disaster for your people, your customers and ultimately, your future.

Often, the only way to realize that what worked yesterday doesn't seem to work anymore is to feel some bumps and then diagnose the source. For example, last summer, we realized that, after years of claiming to be a mid-size agency, we actually, finally were. How did we know we had hit a threshold moment? It became clear that our "run and gun" style, where job descriptions were fluid and processes were loose, had gone from making us "scrappy" to causing breakdowns in agency workflow. We reevaluated our model and began to create specialized functions within departments, while also bringing in dedicated process specialists for the first time.

Over time, we've developed some rules of the road to ensure we are always looking for those "threshold moments" and working to grow smart, not just fast:

1. Plan for the future.

We try to design our agency to operate as if we are twice our size. When we were a 20-person agency we built the process and teams to work like a 40-person shop. Now, we are building the infrastructure of an agency of 120. We set the bar at "twice our size" to ensure we're prepared to handle growth, while at the same time maintaining the nimble, scrappy approach that makes us who we are.

2. Always be self-aware.

Last summer, we began working with a very demanding client who required extremely short turnarounds with frequent changes in direction, the kind of environment that can bring any agency to its knees. While it became easy to blame our growth pains on that one client, projects for some of our other clients were experiencing many of the same challenges.  That one super-demanding client really masked the fact that we had actually evolved as a whole. Our ability to see through the smoke enabled us to reinvent the way we worked, and set us up for our next round of growth.

3. Hold yourself accountable first.

When things eventually get bumpy, it's very easy to come down on people who don't always deliver on your expectations. Before you do, sit back as a leader and ask yourself whether you've created the right environment for them to succeed. On several occasions, I've realized that those who failed to meet my expectations did so because I had not done my job effectively enough by failing to provide both clear direction and the right resources.

4. Over-communicate.

When things aren't working, nobody knows it better than the people doing the day-to-day work.    Failing to discuss things with them when they come up doesn't mean they don't notice... if anything, it just reinforces for them the fact that you just doing get it. It's not important that you always have the answers. Sometimes just acknowledging that you understand the challenges and are committed to addressing them is exactly what people need to hear. Don't get me wrong, things need to get fixed, but asking for just a little patience and some timely input the team will eventually be the difference between turnover and triumph.