How to Scale Your Management Team to Grow Your Business
Updated: Jan 7
“Can't reinvent the wheel. But you can put your spin on it.” - Lauren Buekes, The Shining Girl
Are you looking to improve your business growth and operations performance?
Over time, every business must evaluate its operations and management structure. It could be that you're looking to add revenue streams or add service offerings or perhaps expand internationally and into new geographical regions.
There is nothing unique about the growing pains associated with advancing your startup by scaling your business operations. Research the past two decades, and you'll likely find some common ground with other successful entrepreneurs regarding successful their business growth journeys.
Comparing your startup to similar companies that have carried out successful growth initiatives may assist in simplifying some of your day-to-day processes or provide insights if you haven't thought of any yet.
If scaling your business and management team is a priority, you must prioritize your desired action steps and business goals to achieve your vision.
Delegation to Stop the Plate-Spinning
As an ambitious entrepreneur and with large quantities of “vim and" vigor,” you created your startup" directing all" aspects of your business. Like the old variety show performer spinning plates atop several wooden rods, you would rush from department to department to ensure no operation plates were in danger of falling off, from sales leads to issuing invoices, you pretty much ran the complete “ship.”
Eventually, you may have hired already or be in the process of expanding your team structure by hiring freelancers, contractors, or designated department managers, which will help to free up some of your time.
Sadly, there are still many hands-on tasks to be completed by you, and as you become more comfortable with the delegation, you will reduce your workload even further.
Instead of fretting over what additional plates you will have to manage as part of your daily operations, it’s time to develop a fully staffed management team. There is a big difference between management and leadership. Is the goal to free up your time or hire more staff to grow your team structure?
Leaders and managers are intrinsically linked, and an excellent organizational design will have clear lines of hierarchy between business leaders, managers, and operational teams. Typically, leaders will focus on creating a vision and developing a high-performing team, and managers will focus on short-term day-to-day goals.
Develop Your Leadership Team!
Think of the structure of a Premier League football team. The Chairman is considered the ultimate leader of organizations such as Manchester United or Arsenal. However, those chairmen rely on other managers – various directors down to the coaches – to manage day-to-day operations and make critical decisions on the teams' performance.
While some directors exploit business expansion opportunities, one person usually keeps overall tabs on each club and is the sole contact to each club’s Chairman. In business, typically, this position is referred to as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Back Office Administration in smaller companies.
If you're' shying away from adding another step in the leadership hierarchy of your startup, you aren't alone. However, to give yourself time for reflection and focus on other areas of interest in your life, having a "second in command" is a good step for you to explore.
Many startups refuse to acknowledge the importance of a COO and how helpful the position can be in a successful scale-up and help to improve business growth:
The COO may be familiar with several of the critical business operations components of your startup's various departments; human resources, marketing, supply chain, finance, and accounts. Therefore, having this person in-situ should help you to alleviate your continuous plate spinning aspect. However, the COO isn't a cookie-cutter position, so the hiring process is critical to business growth success.
It would help if you trusted this person explicitly. Examine the options of promoting a current employee versus hiring someone from the outside. For example, someone in-house may have already worked within a few departments, providing a well-rounded business operations background. Alternatively, bringing in a fresh perspective and extensive experience, which includes a similar successful business growth scale-up process, should also be a strong consideration as your COO.
To succeed, the COO must be capable of maintaining (and developing new) business culture and values — an area where an in-house choice may be more favorable.
Critical Leadership Qualities
Words like autonomy, motivation, and communication are quickly placed at the forefront of any qualification list. You will be seeking out those leaders who want to be on their own. While autonomy is significant, every leadership team member must know the importance of keeping you (usually relayed through the COO) well-informed of operations.
Motivation from leadership doesn't always have to be of the 'rah-rah' variety. It's not just the team huddle at the beginning of the week. Business leaders cannot expect each department employee to be motivated the same way. Understanding each person will result in leaders using multiple motivational techniques to encourage increased productivity and business results.
If a person has trouble communicating or avoids conflict, there is little chance of becoming a successful leader without investing time to change their behaviors. Focusing on their blind spots will help aspiring leaders to become more grounded and self-aware when dealing with their teams.
The business world has finally realized there is a vast difference between being a successful manager and being a successful leader.
Often, communication skills are the barrier, and those that can articulate, delegate, and inspire truly transformational business growth and improve team performance, are the gems you want to nurture within your organization.
Need Help Scaling Your Business & Leadership Team?
It can sometimes be challenging to gain the perspective and free time needed to scale your business operations. We are here to help. If you want an expert "second opinion" to review your business strategy, leadership structure, business planning, or financial forecasts? Let's talk!
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