Once your business starts to evolve and grow, you’ll need to adapt your successful early approach. As it transitions from a small, informal start up, what has worked to date will no longer be really effective for the business’s long term performance.
So far, the company will have rested on your personality, your vision and values to guide where it’s going. But as it becomes larger you won’t see people in person every day any more. Keeping that personal connection alive becomes difficult and you’ll need look to other people in the organisation to carry that mantle. That's when the role of line managers becomes especially important.
How do you maintain people’s connection and engagement with the original founding vision and values of the organisation?
How do your managers engage, inspire, motivate people in the same way that you did in the early days?
What could you put in place now to address some of those issues that are going to make your growth sustainable over time?
Looking ahead to anticipate what needs to be put in place now, how you can lead successfully through the transition, is going to make the growth more sustainable for the long term. Here are the tips and techniques that really work:
Communicate clear goals and expectations to your employees. Most of them want to be a part of a compelling future, to know what is most important at work and what excellence looks like. Give everyone an understanding of the business strategy and how their jobs contribute to the big picture.
Share information and numbers. When you keep your employees informed they tend to feel a greater sense of ownership. Let them in on what is going on within the company, keeping communication hopeful and truthful. Don’t be afraid to share bad news, instead be more strategic about how you and your managers deliver it.
Encourage upward communication. You and your managers can have an insight into what things are important to employees by being visible and asking people direct, using team meetings and even surveys. Be open-minded and encourage people to express their ideas and perspectives without criticism. Take every opportunity to demonstrate to staff how their feedback is being used.
Communicate important news in time. Hearing about an important update from media, colleagues or family and friends can have a negative impact on employee morale. Ensure your people hear these messages from you and your managers as soon as possible.
Actively promote organizational effectiveness, reputation, values and ethics. Employees want to feel good about their leaders, where they work, the products they sell and the reputation of their company. Be conscious that employees are constantly watching leadership to see how their decisions affect the strategic direction of the organization, and whether their actual behaviours are consistent with what they say publicly.