Your Company is Talking to You. Are You Listening?
Louise Perkins, CEO of a 67 employee service-based firm in the Midwest, woke up one morning to the realization that her small business would hit the equivalent of a solid concrete wall going 125 miles an hour in just under 90 days. Disaster was at the door. Why?
Previously dependable employees were making huge mistakes, communications were breaking down between departments and inside teams. Managers and their staff were letting things fall through the cracks, customer orders were going out the door late and/or with unacceptable returns. Two large customers were being heavily courted by a powerful competitor and things weren’t looking hopeful that the clients would stay with Louise’s firm much longer. How could all this be happening?
Throughout the 15 years that Louise had run her small business, she had been a successful CEO. She had always valued her people, believed in avoiding chaos by putting systems in place that helped ensure a profitable business, had excelled at customer service and she had managed to stay out of debt.
Two years ago Louise had 37 employees and in order to meet work and client demands, she had expanded to 67 employees in the past 9 months. Louise was unnerved by the seemingly sudden challenges that had started to rear their heads recently and she was unprepared for the backlash of employee concerns on top of client demands that seemed to appear overnight.
Were there some hidden laws of business that Louise was innocently unaware of that were now forcing her company down a treacherous path?
The 7 Stages of Growth is a concept developed by James Fischer, author of “Navigating the Growth Curve.” Fischer spent 6 years researching over 650 CEOs of successful growth companies to uncover why some entrepreneurial companies made it and others fell by the wayside.
The Stages of Growth concept examines the complexity levels that increase as a company grows. And that complexity factor is caused by one key factor. People. Not profits, not revenue, but the addition of people.
What Louise was experiencing were the fundamental changes to her company as she moved from Stage 4 (with 35 – 57 employees) to Stage 5 (with 58 – 95 employees). In fact, Louise’s company was telling her what she needed to pay attention to, but because Louise was unaware of the changes brought on by her new stage of growth, she wasn’t listening.
FlashPoint! is focused on working with successful businesses with fewer than 500 employees to help them understand how complex problems, like those at Louise’s firm, are rarely fixed by simple solutions. Laurie Taylor, President of FlashPoint! and a business growth specialist helps CEOs uncover the obstacles to their growth.
Through understanding the concept of the 7 Stages of Growth, CEOs can actually PREDICT how growth will impact them, help the FOCUS on the right things at the right time, and provide a CEO with the tools they need to ADAPT their leadership style to the needs of their company.
What Louise Perkins needed to understand regarding her small business were the changes in the rules during the short period of 15 months her company went from being a Stage 4 enterprise to operating as a Stage 5 company.