Pursue What Matters
Episode 107: 3 Questions for Scaling Growth
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
As a leader in a small organization, you may have perfect clarity that it is time to grow. It is time to scale. But what do you do now? Well join me and let’s find out.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:14
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters Podcast, where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So hopefully, you have had a chance to listen to last week’s podcast where I was talking to you about this question, Are you thinking too small? If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that I will link to it in this episode. And then you can go and take a listen. Because I do think that that will be helpful for you. Right?
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:05
So we’re in the middle of talking about scaling and growth. And so last week with the episode of Are You Thinking Too Small, we really looked at assessing whether your team and your organization is ready to grow. And now today, we are really looking at what needs to change for the success of your organization and team, right, and we’re going from this idea of what got you here won’t get you there. And so where we ended last week’s podcast is we talked about what needs to remain the same, because certainly the things that you have done to get to this point have helped you to be successful, where so many other organizations have failed. And so we don’t want to throw those away, just because we’re looking at growth. And so we you know, we talked about the importance of purpose, and values and having clarity around that. And now today with this podcast, we’re really going to look at this question of what needs to change, right?
Dr. Melissa Smith 2:04
So I’ve got three questions to help you scale for growth. And this is really where we’re getting into the weeds of what right, like what needs to change for the success of your organization, and your team. And so this is an important question, because this is, really, you’ve already determined, it’s time to grow. And so we really want to kind of get in the details of what that needs to look like.
Dr. Melissa Smith 2:31
Now, every week on the podcast, of course, my goal is to help you pursue what matters in love and work. And to strengthen your confidence to lead, I try to do that in one of three ways, clarity to lead, which is all about that, that clarity around purpose and vision, curiosity to lead, which is all about self awareness and self leadership and building a secure foundation for yourself. And for those you lead. And then of course, building and leading a community, which is so incredibly important. You might have clarity, you might have self awareness, but you need to know how to lead, you know, you need to know how to build a community. And that relates to both your team members, but also those you serve. And so today with the podcast, we’re really looking at building and leading a community, right, because we’re going to be assessing three questions for scaling growth. And so that’s what we’re going to dive into today. And so let’s take a look at this first idea, right, when we’re looking at what needs to change for the success of the organization or the team, right, like you could be in a large organization, but you’ve got a team. And so this can apply to everyone listening, hopefully.
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:46
So the first thing that we really want to pay attention to is what needs to get done for scaling and growth. And so we really want to point you to responsibilities. So that’s really the key, as we look at this consideration. So as your organization and team grow, responsibilities are going to grow, responsibilities are going to change, that is necessarily the case. So you’ve really got to keep a pulse on what needs to be done for the success of your organization. Right. So there may have been a time in your organization where you didn’t need this responsibility done. But now you do. And so we really want to think about what needs to be accomplished for the effectiveness of your organization or your team. So in order to best meet client and customer needs, we must do better. We’ve got to get better at what we do. And so we really want to think in terms of effectiveness, what needs to happen to help us to be more effective, what needs to happen to help us better, better, decrease turnaround time, what you know, that’s all the effectiveness work there. And so you know what feedback so as you as you look at this, what feedback are you receiving deviating from clients, from customers from team members from other stakeholders. So this feedback is really, really important to understand how effective you are, is there a lot of lag time is there a lot of friction in your system is there a lot of pushing and pulling. And so we really want to pay attention to that. So what needs to be accomplished for the effectiveness of your team, and then what needs to be accomplished for the growth of your organization or your team.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:31
So you know, maybe in order to grow, you recognize you need a specialist on the team, maybe in order to grow, you know, you need another team member to do the work. So that is something in my own organization that we have been dealing with, right, like we’ve hired a couple of new clinicians, which is great, and I’m so excited to have them come on board. But as we really looked at this process, and we’re going through the same process that I’m recommending here, what, what we’ve also learned, and what I’m recognizing is I probably need another integration team member. And the integration team in my organization, they are the real doers behind the scene. We everyone here is a doer, really hard workers and amazing folks, and our integration team really keeps everything running smoothly, they really are working on our online components of our business. And so I, you know, I’m like, I know, I knew we needed clinicians. So I’ve been very focused on that. But as we really get into the details, I’m like, Oh, we need someone else as well. And so that’s important. So right, we’ve talked about what do you what needs to be accomplished for the effectiveness of your organization, and then just know what needs to be accomplished for the growth of your organization? And then the next question is what needs to be accomplished for the efficiency of your organization, because you can be effective without being efficient. And so we want all three, we want effectiveness, we want efficiency, and we want to be facilitating growth. And so as we think about efficiency, this is where we’re really paying attention to those friction points, where the work is slowing down, where’s the tension? Where’s the holdup? Where’s the where’s the lag? And also, of course, we always want to be looking at what is working well, what are the factors that contribute to that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 7:29
So there may be some processes that are so incredibly dialed in, that, you know, you as a leader don’t have to think about at all hardly. And there may be other aspects of the business where maybe there’s not a clear process, or there’s just so much more tension and friction point. And I know that is so true in my organization, there are some parts of the business and there are big parts that I don’t even really have to think about. Like there’s a great process, there’s total ownership in that responsibility. And there’s no check in points where, you know, we’re definitely talking about it. And there are other parts of the business where, gosh, there seems to be a lot of friction and meaning just, there’s not always clarity, there’s not always a clear process, there’s a lot of need for follow up and right, like things aren’t getting done as quickly or as smoothly as they could be. Right. So really thinking to that efficiency point. And so that is a red flag, right for anyone in an organization to say, okay, something’s different here. And what can we learn from that? And so, for sure, that’s important to look at. And so the first big question, right is, so we’re talking about three questions for scaling growth, is what needs to get done. So that’s what we’ve just talked about. And we really want to pay attention to responsibilities as they relate to effectiveness, efficiency and facilitating growth.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:00
Okay, and so now we’re on to the second big question for scaling. And that is who, so who does what, and this is where we really want to think about roles. So we just talked about responsibilities. And now we’re going to talk about roles. So who is best equipped to do what needs to be done? So of course, when an organization is young, there can be a lot of mingling of roles and responsibilities. And that makes total sense for a young and scrappy organization, right? Like you want to be nimble, you need to be nimble, because you don’t have those bags of cash sitting around. But certainly as the organization grows, and in order to scale, you must reassess roles and see what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense, right? So maybe you need to eliminate some roles, maybe you need to create some roles. Maybe you need to merge roles, right? So you need to collapse some roles and so you’ve got to be willing to take a look at that and really look at what makes sense now. So you can’t have a lot of rigidity, rigidity around this, you’ve got to be flexible as you’re growing. And so we really do want a clear eyed examination of what is needed. So you can only look at preferences of team members, especially when you’re reshuffling roles. I don’t know if you’ve been in an organization where that has happened, but ever, it’s like a game, right? And like, everyone’s like, I want that seat. So, you know whether they really understand what that requires, whether they have the skills for what’s required, you know, might take a backseat to just getting in that role. So we always want to be careful and intentional in that process. And so, you know, some of the questions here to ask include, who has the skills to accomplish what is needed, who has the temperament to be successful in that role, so they may be very capable, but boy, that’s customer facing, and they’re kind of grumpy. So that might not be a good fit. And another question here is who has the desire to fill the role? So certainly, we always want to be paying attention to this, if someone has a desire to fill a new role, right, you’ve got to ask yourself, does this work for the team? Does this work for the organization, and what is required for a team member to move to a new role? Right? So are they going to need additional training? Are there going to be gaps in the rest of the team that’s really important to pay attention to. And of course, we always want to make sure that those we serve our clients and our customers are covered, and that we’re not creating big holes for them. So we might fix a gap for us by moving a team member to a different role. But unwittingly, because we’re we’re not taking the perspective of those we serve, we’re creating a big gap for our clients and customers, which makes the effectiveness and the efficiency of our work less effective. So obviously, we don’t want to be doing that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 11:55
So do what you can to create a role team member fit, this is always going to be really like such a big culture building move. So you will have more loyal team members because they see potential for growth. And you will cultivate autonomy. You’ll also cultivate some mastery and a sense of purpose, right? These come to us from self determination theory. So all of these are big culture boosters, big motivation boosters, you’ll cultivate contribution, and you’ll strengthen your culture without a doubt. But right going back to the question before that, you may not always be able to do that. And that can be disappointing for someone who wants to shift to a new role. And so you’ve got to be careful about that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:45
Another question to ask yourself, as we look at who, is do you outsource or do you onboard? Right? Okay. So these are good questions. Sometimes we just think in one way, and we, we kind of box ourselves into a corner. But you know, is it best to hire someone and go the onboarding route? Or is it important to have more flexibility? Is it important maybe to look at outsourcing. Maybe it saves you money, maybe it costs a little bit more, but it’s worth it because they have the skills you need. And so as you think about whether to outsource or onboard, you really want to ask, what’s the timeline for the need, so you really need to assess that. So you know, if you needed this position yesterday, then maybe you’re going to look at outsourcing, you’re going to go right to the specialist. And of course, that means you might need to pay a little bit more money, but it may be worth it. Because Hey, we need this now. So when we think about other questions to consider when outsourcing or onboarding, you know, you’ve got to pay attention to whether you have the time, the resources, or the energy to onboard.
Dr. Melissa Smith 13:55
That’s one of the challenges that we’re facing right now in our organization is I know I need to bring someone on but I also don’t feel like I have the time to do that. which obviously is such a such a vicious cycle. It’s very undermining. And so I recognize like I I’ve got to prioritize that. Some of the other questions to ask about outsourcing or onboarding is recognizing like, okay, maybe we’re not a specialist in this skill that we need. And so you make the determination to outsource I think that’s a really good way to use outsourcing. And, and, you know, maybe it’s worth your time and your money to outsource instead of onboarding, because often with onboarding, right, like there’s going to, there’s going to be a period of training, and can you afford to take that time?
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:45
So of course, you want to pay attention to that. And then the last question that we that we want to look at so right, we’re talking about three questions for scaling growth. The first one was what what needs to get done The second was Who? Who does what? Right. And so with the first question, what, we were talking about responsibilities with the second question, who, we’re really looking at roles. And then this third question is how, how do you get things done, okay. And so this is where we’re really want to talk about autonomy, accountability and delegation. So these are really important when we think about how we get the work done. So you know, first of all, delegation can be a really tricky business, especially if you have a history with control issues. Or if you’re an entrepreneur, right, because you’ve been wearing all the hats at different points. And when there have been different needs, and so it can be really hard for small business owners and small teams, leaders or small teams to delegate. But it’s so incredibly important, right? But the life of most entrepreneurs, as you start out with something, that’s just an idea in your head, maybe you feel really passionate about it. And if you’re like most of us, you bootstrap yourself to grow. I mean, that’s absolutely how I have done it. And so at any given time, right, like you’re doing just about everything in the organization. And so you’ve got to stop trying to do it all. And so, you know, we’ll maybe we’ll have a podcast dedicated to delegation, because it’s a big issue, and it’s a challenging one. But for now, I want to talk about autonomy, accountability, and delegation. So we’ll talk a little bit about that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 16:26
So some of the questions here under How is how will you accomplish your goals? How will you climb that mountain, right? Like, how are you going to reach that mountain? And how will you act on purpose? All right, we’re always tying back to purpose and clarity of purpose. So let’s look at autonomy. Do you trust those you work with to do the work? That’s really, really important, because when you have a strong foundation of trust, then it’s much easier for team members to have autonomy where they really decide how they complete their work. So some other questions around autonomy, is there good intent? Do we like each other? Do we care for one another? Do we have good intent? Or are we trying to undermine one another? Another question is, is there collaboration among team members? Do you work together? Do you keep people in the loop? And of course, related to that is, is there communication? Right?
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:19
Is there radio silence with this one specific team member, or as a team are you actively communicating? So when you have good intent, when you have trust when you have collaboration, when you have good communication, that increases autonomy, and that makes it easier for people to get the work done, which is what needs to happen. And it really cuts down the micromanagement and the control tendencies which really are so ineffective, especially if you’re looking at growing because you can’t do it all. And you’re going to make your people crazy if you’re looking over their shoulder every five minutes.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:57
So that’s autonomy. And now let’s think about accountability. So right, when we think about accountability, we’re really thinking about two, two pieces of that puzzle, its responsibility and ownership. And so the first question is, does everyone know what their roles and responsibilities are? And that goes back to the first two questions around responsibilities and roles, there needs to be clarity about that. Because if there’s not clarity about roles and responsibilities, then you as a leader will be owning all of that accountability. And that makes for very heavy lifting. And so one of the concepts that I want to introduce here is this idea of pushing versus pulling the work, okay. And so when we think about pulling, this is when a leader is really pulling for information, pulling for task completion. The leader is really, you know, has to be in the weeds to get the information that he or she needs in order to effectively lead. We don’t want polling happening in your organization. That’s not good because it undermines motivation. It it decreases autonomy. It really it you know, It borders on potentially, that micromanagement. You know, leaders feel like a nags in that situation is not helpful. It corrodes team morale, and certainly is not helpful for culture. And so if you recognize that there’s a lot of Pauline happening in your organization, you really need to re examine your processes, your KPIs and your accountability systems. So I have a podcast that I did on accountability, and so I will link to that one. So you can review that. But also go back to these questions one and two, around roles and responsibilities, because that’s going to help you really pin that down to actually see what you know, first of all, do we have any processes? If so, Are they effective? And if not, what do we need to? What do we need to revamp them? And of course, we’re going to be talking about this more in the next podcast about scaling. So I’ve got more for you on that. But I also want to direct you back to those questions. And I’ll link to the to one of the one of the podcasts that I did on that in terms of process improvement.
Dr. Melissa Smith 20:27
Okay. So that’s what we have with polling. And we don’t want that. So that’s when a leader or a team leader is pulling for the work is pulling for information, it’s not helpful. Versus pushing, right. So do you have a pulling culture or a pushing culture? And when we think about pushing, think about team members pushing the work, pushing information, pushing communication, pushing task completion. So in a very real way, team members are really owning their part of the work, right. And so we think about accountability, having two parts of the two pieces of the puzzle, right responsibility and ownership, the leader will always have responsibility for developing the processes and the structure for identifying what is the work, right, and that’s, that is a leaders responsibility, a really important responsibility.
Dr. Melissa Smith 21:26
But the second part of that the second piece of that puzzle is ownership. And that is that the team members on their roles, they own their responsibilities, they own their tasks. And as part of that they’re pushing the work, they’re pushing the information, they’re pushing the communication. And right of course, it begets results in a much more effective and efficient system, we have a proper accountability in place, right. So you have good processes in place, you have a good structure in place to facilitate the work. And we also have key metrics or KPIs, to focus the work and align team member goals, across the organization and team, we want everyone aligned towards the same goals. So it’s really very important to pay attention to that. So again, one, just one point on this is, you know, when we think about accountability, it’s a two way street. The leader is responsible for structuring the work right, like so for developing the processes, and really addressing what needs to get done. And then with ownership, team members really own their roles and responsibilities, right, and they’re pushing that work. And so this is really where we’re looking at how the work gets done, the leader should not be in the weeds, figuring out how the work gets done. That’s where you’ve got to empower your team members, you’ve got to have trust, you’ve got to have autonomy. And so right there are two pieces of that accountability puzzle that are really important to pay attention to.
Dr. Melissa Smith 23:01
Okay, so now the last part of this right, as we look at this third question, which is, which is this question of how, how do you get things done? Right? We’re talking about autonomy, accountability, and delegation. And so we’ve already talked about autonomy and accountability. And now let’s jump into delegation. And this is a gut check for you leaders of teams, are you willing to delegate, because if you’re not willing to delegate, your team is dead in the water, it’s going to be very difficult for you to grow and reach your potential. And so you know, you’ve got to take a look at this. So we think about training your team, we think about giving your team the tools they need, giving them the direction they need, right? So when we think about this, this is where we think about what needs to get done. So clear expectations, clear targets, and focused goals, we also think about giving them the structure they need. So our interests aligned, right? Is everyone moving towards the same goal? Or are there perverse incentives? That’s so important pay attention to, again, I’ll link to that podcast where I talked about it is their accountability, right? So part of good structure is accountability. You if there’s no accountability, there’s no structure essentially. And then you really want to make the case for alignment and paying attention to again, everyone’s focused on the same goal.
Dr. Melissa Smith 24:34
This is why talking about purpose really matters. This is why looking at transparency within the organization, around tension points is so incredibly important. Because if you if you can’t and you don’t make the case for alignment, then then when you come up against concerns in the organization, it’s only a problem for you. Because you have failed to communicate. You fail to be transparent. about the issues. And so when we think about alignment, I want you to pay attention to this question of who is this a problem for? Right, we can have CEOs running around with their heads on fire, because they see a really big problem in the organization. And everyone else or other people in the organization are totally clueless about it. And that it can be a failure of many things. It can be a failure of communication, it could be a failure of transparency, it can be a failure of structure, it can be a failure of accountability, and failure of incentive, an incentive vacation. And so we really want to align everyone towards the same goal. So you’ve got to make the case for alignment and really look at who is this a problem for? And if it’s only a problem for me, how can I actually make this a problem for others, so they’re motivated to help solve it, that’s what you do. Because as a leader, you can’t solve all the problems. And so if it’s only a problem for you, you are continually going to be pulled into problem solving mode. And it’s just so incredibly ineffective, and it’s demoralizing for your team. So we don’t want that to happen. And so that’s really what we want to pay attention to for that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 26:15
And as we think about giving them the structure they need, right, you’ve got to trust your team, you got to give them opportunities to grow, and really let them do the work. So I want you to think here in terms of guide, don’t dictate, right? So we want a guide. We don’t ever want to leave anyone feeling like they don’t have the support that they need, but don’t tell them how to do the work. Don’t tell them. All of those details, if they come to you, and they ask for some guidance, and some help, help them problem solve, help them become the hero in that problem, not you coming in to rescue them. And so I think a lot of leaders really get that wrong. Because they’re used to being capable. They’re used to having people come to them with questions, but ultimately, it will undermine the effectiveness of your team. And so when you’re delegating some of the things to consider is who can best do this task, right? So again, is it going to be internal, or outsource? outsource, right? So sometimes, like the specifics of your audience are so darn nuanced that it might be better to have someone on the inside take care of the task? So another question to ask when delegating? Is this the best use of my time? Is this the best use of the team members time? What can only I do? And I think this last question is a really good one. And that is does this task need to be done at all? So sometimes we just get task overload. And we don’t ever take the time to step back and really look at Hmm, do we even really need to do that? And so asking that question is really helpful. And so those are the three things to pay attention to, as we look at this last question of how how do you get things done? So right autonomy, accountability and delegation. And so again, as a review, the three questions that we want to pay attention to for scaling growth include what? So looking at what needs to get done? And second, who, so who does what? And then of course, third is how, how do you? How do you get things done. And so I hope that that can be helpful for you as you dig into the details of scaling growth. So we’re really looking into the process of that. And so hopefully, that can be helpful for you.
Dr. Melissa Smith 28:38
So head on over to my website to check out the show notes and the links for the resources for this episode. And you can find that at www.drmelissasmith.com/scalinggrowth. So one more time that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/scalinggrowth. You can find us on iTunes and Spotify Of course on my website, and I would love it if you take a minute and give me a review so that more people can find the podcast. I’m also on Instagram, so I’d love to connect with you there @dr.melissasmith. So I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
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