Shape Culture During High Growth
While work cultures certainly shift over time, many leaders assume that their culture will deteriorate as they experience hyper-growth. How can a leader shape culture during high growth? Especially the positive aspects of the organizational culture that are so important to get you where you want to go.
Cultural Areas That Often Deteriorate During Rapid Growth
High-performing, team-based, and innovative cultures of smaller companies often fall victim to high growth in a few areas:
All three of the above symptoms of rapidly growing start-ups affect culture as it overlaps with employee engagement. And none of the three need to be sacrificed on the altar of “growth at all costs.” You just need to think different. You need to purposefully shape culture during high growth.
Start-up Leaders Define the Company Culture
The founders of start-up companies have a huge impact on the culture of their organization. They set the tone, hire the employees, and are directly involved in every customer “win” because there are no “extra” levels between them and their customers. They are intimately involved in all aspects of running the business.
This intimacy is hard to preserve once the company begins to ramp up in size. But it can, and should, be done if you want to sustain the culture that nurtured your success in the first place and retain the employees who supported that success.
3 Ways to Shape Culture During High Growth
First you need to assess your current organizational culture to identify the positive aspects of your culture, what activities nurtured them, and then commit to selecting a few of the operational processes you are NOT going to scale. This is the only way you can ensure that you keep your culture healthy and strong for as long as you can.
Here are three key areas you need to continue to supervise and participate in:
The better new employees perform and fit, the stronger your culture will be. This is especially true for high stakes leadership roles.
Don’t let this critical aspect of helping people grow professionally be sacrificed to the pressures of scaling. Lead by example; schedule “open” office hours so employees can sign up to spend time with you one-on-one.
Difficult as it is to carve out such time slots, we have found that it pays off in more efficient, focused efforts on the part of the employees who participate.
Recognize the wins as they occur. Share the progress. It will boost motivation and productivity.
The Bottom Line
The positive aspects of small and start-up cultures can be preserved even during rapid growth if you determine to make the effort to do so.
To learn more about how to shape culture during high growth, download 3 Research-Backed Levels of a High Performance Culture to Emphasize
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