Holistic Business Strategies For Startups To Avoid Big Business Diseases
As an entrepreneur and consultant, I’ve worked in 30+ industries, onboarding clients who were already past the start-up stage. Almost every company I stepped into had issues that mainly stemmed from becoming too big too fast. By implementing more holistic leadership, strategies, and management systems, startups can be in a much better position to prevent toxic practices from infecting and poisoning your company.
A lot of times these symptoms would include poor cash flows, low throughput, losing clients, disconnect among teams, and high turnover in talent retention. Most often the cause of these problems was a loss of purpose and impact the business is here to create. Essentially, these companies expanded too quickly, never getting the right systems in place to set their employees up for success and the culture is without any sense of mission or direction from those in charge on a management level as they also likely don’t feel a sense of connection or passion to their work.
When your start-up team is relatively small, you all feel addicted to the purpose and fully aligned with the impact you gathered to create. You attract investors, clients, team members and suppliers. Suddenly within a very short time your startup becomes a 100, 200, 5000+ person company.
During a growth period you realize that this project of yours is beyond your control anymore. New people coming in, teams trying to understand their functions and responsibilities, a “ping-pong” of incomplete information with questions like “who should do this or that?”, “why is the client complaining?”, all suddenly putting an extra strain on the work. When you see your team growing this fast, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing control of your “baby” and fear facing costly inefficiencies.
This is the moment where weaving the essence of your business mission into every customer journey stage, every thought, every meeting, and decision makes a difference!
This is the time you must slow down to grow fast later. By taking intentional steps at this critical juncture to ensure you’re hiring the best team that is most aligned with your company’s purpose, training them correctly and communicating clearly about your company’s impact, you will be 1000x better off for it down the road. This can save you revenue from wasting time having to continually find new employees and take the time and resources to train them. If you don’t do it right the first time, you will waste the money and energy doing it again later on.
Do not introduce what we call a command and control style culture or other stifled corporate management tools. Excessive top-down organizational hierarchies with overbearing micromanagement, and dysfunctional inefficient KPIs can strangle creativity and innovation in exchange for the illusion of control. That is exactly how the purpose and impact of your business is lost.
When the value producing parts of the business are chopped into functional pieces it creates a silo mentality of “This is not my responsibility”, “This is not my job, it belongs to another department”. Talented people start reporting to you, instead of reporting to the clients and working for the impact. You can simply not expect your teams to go above and beyond for you or the customer if that’s not the experience they’re also receiving behind the scenes. Treat them with respect, discover their best abilities and how they can be utilized best.
Hierarchical thinking is dangerous. You are not a one man show.
A top-down, functional organizational structure threatens organic beneficial business growth.
For brave entrepreneurs who desire to magnify their impact and value, the practice of managing the company with vertical functions, cascading down targets, and one sided decision making keeps everything small. This is a slow DEATH for audacious dreams.
It creates a culture of uninspiring performance and non-value.
It encourages competition between teams instead of unity.
It takes away pride and passion at work.
It quiets the voice of your business essence.
But just because you were once told the company must be managed as separate parts, it does not mean you have to follow the same trap blindly.
Holistic Whole System Approaches To Incorporate For Success In Scaling Startups
- Weave the purpose of your business in your company architecture and organizational design
- Give clear end-to-end responsibilities for teams based on their roles. Value your interactions together and seek their input, innovations, questions, and solutions. .
- Let the growing teams visually see and understand the business as a whole from product fit to market to client feedback and every step in between.
- Have daily visual meetings of 30 min with your 5, 10, 15+ people and ask deeper questions “how are we fulfilling the purpose of our business today?”, “what should we stop doing to leverage the key focus?”, “who and by when can execute this?”
- Embed holistic business accountability and replicate it as you expand your operations.
When you reach the transition from startup to IPO registered company, having the holistic business structure in place will boost trust, confidence, and culture within your teams, customers, and shareholders alike.
My team and I are ready to work privately with you when you decide to kiss goodbye to the silo mentality.
Meanwhile, feel free to watch our exquisite Masterclass The Holistic CEO. Grow your business beyond hierarchy.
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