The Importance of Scaling – Part 2 of 3: People and Culture

(This is part two of a three part series of articles examining the importance of scaling all aspects of your growing business. Part one and three can be found here: The Importance of Scaling – Part 1 of 3The Importance of Scaling – Part 3 of 3: External Partners and Communication)

People

The people that make up your company are at the heart of every initiative, often ultimately responsible for determining its success or failure. When a company grows and looks to scale its operations, having the right talent focused on building for the long term is critical. A shared sense of purpose amongst employees to grow the company is certainly one aspect to the equation, but the other aspect is having the right people capable of executing that growth. Adding professionals with the necessary experience, background, and relationships/networks can immediately provide a boost to the company’s strategic positioning that may have not been possible without those resources.

At TeraThink, we pride ourselves on the team we’ve assembled and our ability to find, hire, and keep great people. We provide our employees with incentives to recruit colleagues and associates they believe are a good fit for our culture. This has helped us onboard high-quality individuals who know who we are, what work that we do, and where our company values are. With this talent, we have been able to formalize individualized roles that previously, as a small company, were often done by committee or based on individual resource availability. This has minimized duplication of effort, empowered our leaders with the authority to make decisions quickly, and has ensured we have the capacity to respond to multiple activities in parallel. Finally, we encourage and provide opportunities to our more junior resources to get involved in all aspects of our company, so that they can to become key drivers of our future success and growth.

In the back office, you must also carefully consider the impacts to your internal and back office operations and the willingness to bolster those capabilities with non-billable resources to support the volume and size of your new pipeline. This might include contract specialists, proposal writers, financial support, and business development professionals.

Culture

While directly tied to the people that make up your company, your company culture is a key aspect of your organization and its ability to scale successfully. In addition to defining how your company operates, it identifies the behaviors that your organization values and reinforces, establishes the model for what your company will look like, and drives how your company grows and expands, both internally within the company and externally in the marketplace.

When your company scales, it is critical to ensure your culture remains in tact. Your culture is often what attract your talent to your company in the first place. In his article “How to turn a small business into a bigger one” [3], Conrad Bates amplifies this point stating, “A strong company culture built upon respect and honesty will also keep those same people happy and secure throughout the often changing period of growth.”

At TeraThink, an accelerator to our growth came as a result of a merger that we went through in 2013. It brought two entities with different skills sets together, but shared the same sense of purpose, passion, and commitment to serving our clients, while placing significant value on keeping TeraThink a special place to work. We focus on getting our teams together for regular informal meetings, networking and recruiting events, community service functions, brown bags, and happy hours. This time spent together outside of the typical workday plays a critical role in building a true team-oriented environment and culture that is increasingly difficult to find. Having a shared vision of what is important to each of your employees is a major priority in establishing the trust, admiration, and camaraderie required to propel your organization to grow and prosper.

When you organization loses its culture, it loses part of its identity, which is often the tie that binds your team together. If those things that distinguished your organization and made it a special place to work are lost, employees can feel as though they are lost too, can get lost as well, which will likely result in a hit to morale or worse, employee churn. Don’t let scaling take your company’s culture away. Its one of the few things that is yours and only yours, so make it a priority to keep it in tact.

Again, we invite others to join this #HowToCompete discussion and share your own ideas and experiences. We’d love to hear about the role that scaling has played in how your company competes.

[3] http://www.brw.com.au/p/business/mid-market/how_to_turn_small_business_into_QvnrXkckt9SYeaoPmAoGVL

[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the blog of Dominion Consulting. On November 1, 2017, Dominion Consulting merged with TeraThink and are now operating jointly as TeraThink. All blog posts migrated from the Dominion Consulting website have been updated to refer to ourselves as TeraThink.]