I have been fired as the Mayor of “Villa de Sari.”
It’s that time of year when I construct my Christmas village. My roads were set, the snow prepped for fluff. The power strips were hung and each plug had a designated mate.
What started as a definitive plan soon changed. I was not prepared. As I unpacked the hidden shopping bags from my craft room closet I discovered that I over shopped Christmas clearance last year. What I thought was a piece or three turned out to be nineteen. The village was turning into a booming metropolis. Stores galore, restaurants choices to satisfy any palate, even the entertainment district was expanding. Tiny little people were antsy to escape their plastic packaging and move in. The problem surfaced when I realized that I didn’t have enough tables or power strips. There was no good way to set it up without a total demolition and rebuild.
I lacked foundation and power. My people had no space and many had no purpose.
While the absence of growth and development, learning and expanding, forward momentum and change leads to a stagnant environment, too much growth, too fast, can lead to devastation.
Grow or die. But do it with a plan in place.
Our ETE village is expanding at a record setting pace. Our structure is sound. The leadership is strong. The vision is clear.
We are growing daily, even quicker than my bustling town. New staff, new processes, new ideas.
With the intense growth of our teams we risked losing the cohesiveness that bonds us together. What was once a straight line, and a short walk, from service to support is now sometimes thousands of miles. We struggle to know everyone’s kids (and pets) names. We pass people in the halls, but behind the smile and nod is an unspoken, “who is that guy?” We get emails and instant messages from new people on other teams and wonder when they started and what exactly they do.
As teams grow the hierarchy can appear hazy. Who do you go to for what? What is the preferred escalation method? Who can help? What is the correct path to take?
Growth is inevitable and necessary for success but to ensure the prosperity of your growing village you must plan accordingly. How do we grow our teams and businesses without risking it crumbling at our feet?
Foundation: If you build an empire on a pile of artificial snow fluff it will likely come crashing down. Your business is only as strong as the ground it’s built upon. Key leaders and owners must provide the stability to withstand exponential growth. Planning for the future, both positive and negative, ensures that a path is paved no matter what direction the company turns. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Power: Proactively place people in leadership positions that have proven track records of success. Continue to allow for training and development of leadership skills. Even the most well loved boss will fail if they do not have the ability to lead a team during difficult times, have the tough conversations and lead with assertiveness and conviction. Without a strong enough grid the lights won’t shine and there’s nothing worse than the blind leading the blind.
Structure: Even with the most sturdy foundation a kingdom risks collapse without the proper framework. Evaluate your processes and adjust as needed to a growing workforce. Are the channels of communication sufficient? Do you need to implement a CRM or internal ticketing system? Do you have the proper training materials and delivery methods? Plan for your progress by making sure that you are providing enough resources that are easily managed and accessible. The most articulated plan means nothing if your teams are faced with impassable roads.
Residents: Right people. Right spot. Right time. Run your metrics and forecast as best as possible to ensure that you are not extremely over or under staffed. A low populated, quiet office with overworked inhabitants creates burnout. But in turn overcrowding will lead to boredom, complacency, and lack of accountability. Someone else will do it, right? Provide opportunities for group collaboration so no one gets left in the dark and all faces are familiar.
As we continue to add on to our ETE fam we do it with care and caution. Can we support their needs as an employee, do we have sufficient work to be done, and do we like them?
The time will come soon to deconstruct and pack away “Villa de Sari”. I will be prepared with a plan and three more tables next year. And maybe, if I’m strong enough, I’ll resist the marked down reindeer farm I’ve been eyeing up.
Happy Holidays from everyone at ETE REMAN.