I’m writing a series called A Summary of How the Hidden Agents in the Stages of Growth Model Interact. You can also find this video series on the GCS Membership Site under the 7 SOG Videos tab, and they are called How it All Fits Together.
You may want to have a copy of the Stages of Growth Matrix in front of you as you listen to this series of videos. The intent is to show the interrelationships between different hidden agents and the stage of growth.
The real value in the 7 Stages of Growth is how all of the components work together to present a comprehensive picture of what business owner needs to know regarding their current stage of growth.
Stage 2: Ramp Up
11 – 19 employees
Stage 2 is all about growth. If a business owner makes it through survival mode they are now starting to feel the impact of growth, not chaos. The difference is subtle. However, by Stage 2 there is probably an established revenue base, the company has established itself as a ‘player’ in a market space (although a small space at this point) and the company is able to sustain some level of profitability.
There’s a small shift in the Three Faces of a Leader because with more people, the Manager face must start revealing itself and if a business owner is uncomfortable with taking on a more managerial role in Stage 2, they will be extremely challenged in Stage 3. Now is the time to think about either getting some help with managing the staff or start to bring someone on board who is good at managing people and work processes.
The top Leadership Style in Stage 2 is Coaching, which supports the increased need for the CEO to become more focused on developing their management skills.
While Stage 2 is kind of a step-child to Stage 3 and even Stage 1, it is the time in a company’s expansion that bears paying serious attention to. The reason is that the momentum can be strong and it’s easy for a leader to react to the increase in clients, the increase in projects and revenue —- by adding more people too quickly.
‘Slow down’ should be the mantra for a business leader in Stage 2. Profit is still the priority gate because of the demands of growth. A business owner can’t take their eye off the Money Gate mainly because growth is demanding more sophisticated systems and Process becomes an important Gate of Focus. Up to now, those systems have been hit or miss or completely missing. In Stage 2 you can no longer ignore getting critical processes in place that will shore up the company’s foundation and reduce errors, redundancy and rework – killers to profitability.
In Stage 2, the top challenge is Hiring Quality People and yet the People Gate is low on the Gate focus. This is because of what was mentioned above regarding Processes and one of those key processes that need to be in place is the Human Relations process that includes Interviewing, Hiring, Training, Development and yes, Firing.
Three of your five challenges still relate to the financial health of the organization, while two are focused on People issues. This is in preparation for Stage 3 when the company moves out of being CEO-centric and becomes Enterprise-centric.
A business that intends to become a Stage 3 company has to start improving managerial issues in the beginning of Stage 2 to avoid the Leadership/Staff Gap from becoming overwhelming too early.
The Three Faces of a Leader blend shows a small movement toward Manager, balancing out the time spent in a Visionary and Specialist role. But make no mistake. A Stage 2 leader who isn’t looking ahead and rethinking their role as Manager is heading for trouble. The Builder/Protector Ratio is still higher on Builder, but less than it was in Stage 1 and this change, while appearing subtle, is again preparing a leader to becoming more aware of the changing climate and culture.
A B/P Ratio of 3:1 says the leader is pulling back a bit from just being all about Building. The company has to start taking time to put in place critical processes and performance indicators to help the staff understand how the company operates and makes money. Too much Builder mindset in Stage 2 can keep a company simply reacting to crisis after crisis, sending employees into feelings of burnout – not believing the leader has a handle on the growth – leaving employees questioning if they want to stay around.
The Modality in Stage 2 is the same as in Stage 1. The company hasn’t released its dependence upon the CEO just yet so that Dominant presence is still critical and the Facilitative presence for staff is also the same. What should be taking place in Stage 2 that will shift the Modality for the CEO in Stage 3, is the leader should begin to release more and more authority and responsibility to the Managers (in Stage 3 there are 3 – 5 managers), requiring that CEO to shift to a more Facilitative influence for Stage 3.
Check out my Flash Sheets by FlashPoint! where I explain all aspects of the 7 Stages of Growth by STAGE OF GROWTH, addressing how why the hidden agents show up as they do. This resource along with this series on How It Fits Together will provide you in-depth knowledge of this powerful model.
Your success. My passion.
Laurie Taylor, FlashPoint!