MBA Notes : Growth Creates Complexity

Yes, every business wants to achieve growth, but growth creates complexity. It’s easy to start off fast. Since this blog combines sports and business, I have an analogy. It’s currently week 6 in the NFL. Some teams have started off hot, but the expert analysts aren’t predicting a Super Bowl run, why? Because it’s easy to start off hot in September, it’s harder to sustain that level of play for 16 weeks.

Start-ups are powered by the momentum of a core team of employees. Once that group has achieved success and are no longer shiny and new, systems and policies are put in place in an attempt to support continued growth. Welcome to the world of corporate bureaucracy.

Oftentimes, the new rules and restrictions (hey, this isn’t what we said we’d do when we started!) can drive away star employees that helped you get off the ground. Who replaces them? Employees who value process over innovation (followers). Now, instead of focusing on growth, the organization is focused on keeping everybody on the same page. The culture changes, employees lose sight of what (or who) matters: the consumer! All of a sudden there are too many layers and you can’t get anything done on time. (ahem, Government!)

The point is: You need balance. You need to maintain that start-up mentality, while scaling and keeping things organized. Focus on the consumer, hire innovative thinkers, rather than individuals comfortable following standard procedure and continue to re-invest in the organization rather than seek long-shot opportunities for expansion.

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