Growth and change are inseparable twins. The more you grow, the more you'll see changes in your business as a result of that growth. You have to anticipate and plan for any change management your company needs to undergo as you achieve your goals.
This topic is especially top of mind for me because I got married a few weeks ago. And as I've been settling into life with my husband and the dog that came along as a part of the package, I've recognized that not only has my life changed in significant ways, but the way I think about and run my business has as well. Growth necessitates change.
Now, working to find a new normal means establishing a work schedule that better aligns with my spouse's. It means incorporating walks for our dog into my daily routine. And it means figuring out if there are ways I need to adjust my business model to ensure it is fully aligned with what works best for my new family.
No matter the size of your company, as you go through various growth stages, you will need to help your teams navigate through the change that comes with it.
The way you operate when you're an army of one has to adjust when you start adding employees. As your company starts to mature even more with bigger budgets, more customers, and even more team members, there are changes that will come along with that as well.
Here are two principles to embrace to help you effectively minimize the growing pains that come as your company becomes more successful.
1. Be clear about the culture you want to create and maintain.
When I was single, I did my fair share of cooking and bought mostly organic food. I cooked with olive and coconut oils, and vegetables were a staple of my diet. My husband, who cooks the majority of the time for us, didn't buy organic food, cooked with vegetable oil, and follows a traditional Argentine diet (he's Argentine), which is heavy on meat and potatoes.
So we've had to spend some time figuring out what our norms are when it comes to the food we prepare for ourselves.
As your company grows, you'll have to work hard to nurture and maintain your company culture. You'll need to train new team members on "how we do things around here." You'll have to invest time in listening and learning from your team to ensure elements of your existing culture make them feel like they belong.
If you don't actively shape your company culture, it will get shaped for you. And if that happens, it may morph into something you don't like. Make sure you are clear about your values, operating norms, and the standards you want to be sure you uphold. It will be especially important to lean into them as you go through periods of transition.
2. Pause to recalibrate as major changes occur.
As I'm adjusting to my big life changes, I decided to postpone some projects in my business to give me the space to do so. For me, the extra time to focus on getting in a rhythm in my new world will help me be better positioned to execute my projects with excellence when I come back to them in a few months.
For your business, as you hit various growth milestones, consider taking a pause to orient your team to all the change that is happening around them.
That may mean refraining from launching a new project or initiative just as you are in the midst of an expansion. And it could mean taking a few tasks off your team's plate to give them the freedom to give proper attention to adapting and adjusting to your company's new reality.
During this time, engage in teambuilding, additional training, planning and co-creation that will allow everyone on the team to gel and get on the same page.
When you move too quickly, especially after massive changes, bad habits form as people do what they need to do to get the job done in the midst of chaos. Those bad habits may prove difficult to shed or correct later on.
Don't underestimate the disruption that even positive change can bring. Respect that change and growth require adjustment. When you take the time to effectively manage that process of the change, you'll position your team to be ready to achieve and handle more growth, more quickly.