Leadership at the Expansion Stage

From: Leadership at the Expansion Stage: Dos and Dont’s

The key defining attribute of expansion stage organizations is that they are expanding rapidly to capture a market opportunity and capitalize on their product or distribution advantage. It then behooves the leader to be even more aware of the rapidly changing circumstances, especially when it comes to how they affect the wants and needs of his or her constituencies (customers, partners and employees).

Being generally resource-constrained, younger companies typically try to stretch their people, encouraging them to wear many hats and multi-task, and of course no one is more overloaded than the CEO and his or her management team. In such a situation, it is very easy to focus on hard KPIs such as sales, marketing return, net promoter score, etc., and rely on those numbers and trends alone to manage the company. Yes, those numbers are good indicators to help one “manage” a business — planning projects, organizing people to execute according to a plan, controlling the pace of the project and ensuring its output. But that is not leading! It’s just supervising the execution of a plan. To really assess the situation, numbers alone are not enough because they do not tell the whole story — especially the human dimension — and it requires the leader to be extremely perceptive and responsive to changing circumstances in order to push the company ahead.

So much easier said than done.