In my last email, I explained the value of understanding the Names of each Stage of Growth™. I covered Stage 1, 2 and 3. In this email, I’ll talk about 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Professional: We’re talking about why the names for each stage of growth are important to understand. With more than 50 employees in Stage 4, the CEO has the added responsibility of managing people who probably know more about certain aspects of the company than they do. The name helps elevate the company to a more sophisticated what of thinking. Again, that’s a new paradigm for that leader. Up to now, they’ve been the expert, the go-to-person, the one with all the answers.
As they move into Stage 4, the CEO must still drive the culture and the climate of the organization while allowing the managers to assert their own expertise based on the role they were hired to fill. Process is the top gate of focus and it’s critical to recognize this as the company just went through another Flood Zone (an increase in the quantity of activity). More people, more systems, more revenue to manage, more costs to cover, more clients to care for. The Managers are now required to be Dominant and it’s the CEOs role to be Facilitative, making it easy for those managers to step into their roles and responsibilities. The CEO and the managers must become good at the Coaching leadership style (remember the leadership styles are used person-to-person as the situation warrants). Project management and resource coordination challenges require serious attention, another good reason to hire managers who have ‘been there, done that’. The reality for the CEO in Stage 4 is he/she must maintain a pretty high Builder Mindset, showing confidence in the new managers and the changes the company is going through, while exerting a higher than normal Protector Mindset so he/she doesn’t abdicate authority – stepping away instead of managing. Their manager face is 70% so their input on how things need to get done is critical.
Integration: Heading into another Wind Tunnel (letting go of methodologies that no longer work and acquiring new ones that do). If the leader in Stage 4 was successful in bringing on or training capable managers, the goal in Stage 4 was to help them build confidence as they hired their staff, set up systems, and learned how to successfully manage.
Stage 5 is all about bringing those managers together to work as a team – to encourage those managers to now take a more strategic view of the organization and start helping guide and direct the future of the company. The job of the CEO is to integrate all aspects of the organization into a smooth-running operation, where the left hand knows exactly what the right hand is doing at all times. That’s going to require an intentional communications plan, a leader who embraces the ideals of emotional intelligence and a leader who is good at managing conflict, and who has great listening skills. This describes the skills needed for the Democratic Leadership Style. Improving Sales is the top challenge as the company has now increased their overhead (by paying for skilled managers) and those managers are now hiring even more skilled people, again at a cost.
So, the focus needs to be on Profit, as the top gate of focus, and making sure sales keep up with expenditures. This would be an ideal time to increase the financial literacy of the organization. The CEO is slowly increasing their Visionary Face in order to stay on top of new opportunities, new markets and the longer strategic view they will need when they move into Stage 6. Transparency, Organizational Awareness, Influence, Conflict Management and Teamwork and Collaboration are necessary competencies for the leader to embrace.
Strategic: With up to 160 employees, a CEO is facing some new challenges. They may be on the radar of larger competitors so their ability to land work may require a serious review of how professional they come across in order to compete. They are no longer a large fish in a small ocean. They are a much smaller fish in a much larger ocean and the mindset needs to shift as they land larger clients who expect a lot from their partners. In order to keep up with the client load and the demands those clients place on the organization, systems may need to be upgraded, training must be a priority and it may be time to evaluate the Vision, Mission and Values of the organization.
The CEO has to take a much longer view of where the company needs to go, hence their presence, their influence is Dominant again, and their Visionary Face jumps up to 45%. The managers are now running the day-to-day operations and making the majority of decisions. Their Modality is Supportive, helping run the operations, helping the CEO to look at new opportunities and helping their staff recognize their Facilitative Modality. Because the managers have their hands full, the staff need to ‘make it easier’ for their managers to do their job. The CEOs leadership style is Affiliative, a challenging style that has the leader caring more about the people than the tasks. This is appropriate because the CEO is still very much in charge of managing those managers, leaving the task work to the managers and their direct reports. Staff buy in raises its head again for all the right reasons.
If the CEO isn’t paying attention, toxic managers can creep into the organization, causing staff to question everything about the organization. Why doesn’t Laurie (insert your CEOs name here) see how horrible my manager is? Doesn’t she care that he’s a bully and treats us like slaves? It can happen! It’s the CEOs job to make sure the culture and the climate they spent time developing doesn’t get destroyed by one or two bad managers. The Builder/Protector Mindset is back up to 3:1 because that ability to take on a more strategic view is dependent upon that CEO to set a confident tone for the new adventures that may lie ahead.
Visionary: With up to 500 employees, it’s very easy for a company to discover that their products or services are no longer differentiated in the marketplace – a marketplace that changes regularly, which needs a CEO who is focused on People, exerts their influence and presence (Dominant Modality) to ensure that there is an entrepreneurial spirit that resides in the company in order to avoid complacency. A company this size needs a strong vision and a visionary leader who can steer the ship even in turbulent waters. With this number of employees, it’s easy for non-performing employees to become invisible, they can sow seeds of discontent and create chaos.
Poor managers can also hide behind past performance, eroding profits and creating customer service issues. While the CEO is spending 75% of their time in Visionary Face, that 20% Manager Face is serious business. That time needs to be spent making sure there are daily key performance indicators coming from all managers, in order for that CEO to know when things are going according to plan, and more importantly, when they aren’t. Fixing problems takes longer so finding them sooner than later has to be a strategic focus for the CEO. Vision isn’t always just about where the company is going. It also has to do with how employees, customers and vendors should be treated. It’s paying attention to the core values that continue to drive the right behaviors. Focusing on the critical competencies could be the hidden agent that can make a lot of difference. Those include Change Catalyst, Inspirational Leadership, Empathy, Transparency and Emotional Self Awareness.
The purpose of these emails, Starting with the Name of Each Stage of Growth: Part One and Part Two was to emphasize the importance of knowing and understanding the reason each stage of growth has a specific name. Use the name to help you walk a CEO through the hidden agents. You’ll find you know a lot about a company just knowing their stage of growth.
I know there is a lot of information to absorb as you learn the different aspects of the 7 Stages of Growth. Just a reminder: As soon as you start talking about the stages of growth to any and all audiences, small or large, the more confident you will become. And the sooner you actually deliver your first X-Ray, you’ll be on fire about the process and the results!
If we HEAR something, we only remember 25% of it.
If we WRITE about something, we remember 50% of it.
If we TALK about something, we remember 75% of it.
If we DO IT, USE IT, APPLY IT, we remember 80+% of it.
Thank you for being a part of my Growth Curve Community and for actively learning more about the 7 Stages of Growth.
Your success. My passion.
Laurie Taylor, FlashPoint!