Resonates With Me | By Mattias Ahlström

Growing pains for growing companies

Read this great article about Molly Graham’s experiences with companies facing challenges during rapid growth and hiring. Managers should focus on normalizing and confirming feelings, their employees feel when change happens in at a rapid pace.

As a leader, you want to head it off at the pass and proactively say, ‘Hey, this is what you can expect to feel during this time of growth. It’s pretty universal‘. - Molly Graham

Rapid growth could mean that your employees are challenged by changes in roles or responsibilities. Certain parts of their work or responsibility, where they have done an excellent job, no longer belong to them. By focusing on the vision and the future and help the picturing it, it eases the transition.

One of the best techniques for getting people through job-change anxiety is to help them picture the reality of their next job and the size of the opportunity. - Molly Graham

Graham also sees patterns when companies grow beyond a certain amount of employees.

We used to be a family, now we’re a company!?

Around 30 to 50 employees you go from being a family where everyone knows each other and can strike up a conversation at any time. Communication is easy and direct. At 50 employees you’ve reached the level where you are a real company, not just a small team.

Everything that used to come naturally is now a struggle. - Molly Graham

While it is easy to focus on defining complex processes to overcome the need for a clearer way of working, you should focus on the principles and guidelines you wish to follow.

We can still change the vision and mission with ease

From 50 to 250 it is still easy to get your message across the company and to change the trajectory of the company. Beyond 250 employees it mostly depends on what you did well before.

A lot of how this phase feels has to do with how good of a ‘parent’ you were earlier on. - Molly Graham

In summary

How we hire and look after the first 100 employees will have an impact and set the tone for the next 200. Be good early on, establish guidelines rather than processes. Be transparent and open about growing pains.