When you are growing your business, whether it's from 2 to 5 people or to 10 or more than 20, and even going from 250 to 500 people, there is an ugly truth that you need to deal with to successfully scale your business.
Issue - When your company grows, especially when it grows quickly, problems within the company pop up. Problems that you might not expect.
Whether you have built the company yourself, took the company over from a family member or rose up through the ranks, trade schools never teach you how to be the leader, how to navigate a changing business landscape, how to balance sales with production, building trust between employees and managers, and between one manager and another and most importantly what to do when you really see the effects of these problems.
Situation - Mark was the president of a components manufacturer of commercial HVAC equipment. He had worked for the company for 20 years and worked his way up from a part-time unskilled worker to president.
He loved his employees and he felt they loved him too. Not only were his company's products those most used in their category, he had also become an OEM supplier to two major companies.
The affect was that Mark’s company more than doubled its overall orders over a 30 month period. Mark was concerned his company was experiencing problems but didn't know how big or how wide spread the problems were.
A private, anonymous survey was conducted of every worker, in every department. When the questionnaires were tabulated, it was pretty clear that the results were going to be devastating to Mark.
The company was successful when you looked at the profit and loss statement but it wasn't sustainable because there were non-money problems growing and festering throughout the company that threatened the future of the business.
Growth, and especially rapid growth, can make owners/CEOs more concerned with getting product out the door than to the overall well being of the company. Sometimes it takes a shock to the system to point that out.
Solution - Mark recognized that even though he ran a successful company, he was unaware of what that success was doing to each and every employee. He recognized that he needed to be a better leader.
And being a better leader is admitting when you need help and then going out to get that help. It can be a mentor, a coach, a consultant. Someone that can help you understand the reality of the situation and help you develop solutions that can bring about the change needed to be a sustainable success.
Here is what Mark did when he found out the results. With the help of the consultants that conducted the survey, they created a "New Company". They created steps to make changes to the company from top to bottom.
When everything was ready to be implemented a company meeting was held. Everyone came in, the entire company from all of management to the part-time help, all the machines were turned off. Then Mark stood before everyone and with tears in his eyes and apologized to everyone in the company.
The company's successes and his shift in focus had left promises he had made to the employees undone, and not remembered. The "New Company" would make it right with the employees. The success that he enjoyed from that day on not only in sales, but in life, was immeasurable.
It doesn't matter the size of the company. The Ugly Truth is that you as the leader have a burden to bear for the future of the company. To be a successful leader, you need to be honest with yourself, your team, your employees. Anyone can be a leader but you need to commit to making those changes within you before you can expect changes in others.
QUESTION: What was your biggest takeaway from Mark’s story, or from this post? Share in the comments below!
QUESTION: What was your biggest takeaway from this story, or from this post? Share in the comments below!
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