Allowing your organisation to grow requires effort and patience. And growth will bring challenges and obstacles. If you want to grow as an organisation, embrace those growing pains, so you can learn from them and achieve real growth.
At iLean, we also want to grow. We want to keep on evolving, learning and re-inventing ourselves. We want to grow in the number of employees, expand our offer and services, …
And just like any other growing organisation, we also face particular growing pains. Our mission is to guide organisations through this process and help them with tools to make this continuous process successful. The fact that we face challenges in our growth only helps us better guide and understand our customers.
That is why we want to share some of the growing pains we are experiencing ourselves because sharing really is caring.
Growing pain 1: How to safeguard your group dynamic within a growing group?
At iLean, we’ve historically always been a small group with a very different dynamic than big consultancy companies. We love to really work together towards a common goal, to do regular – mostly daily – check-ins, … Equivalence and participation are some of our main values, we set our goals together in consent, and everyone has a say.
Since we want to grow the number of employees, bringing in new team members can change the internal group dynamic.
So with the arrival of every newcomer, it’s essential to reflect on how to work together, how to plan the work, how they fit into the internal dynamic, how we can make our team more diverse, how each person will contribute to the health of the company, …
How to deal with this changing group dynamic?
The bigger we will become, the more difficult it will be to all work together and establishing a solid yet dynamic structure will become of the utmost importance to ensure we can grow smoothly.
Growing pain 2: How to optimise the balance between time spent on internal work and client work?
There will always be tension between the time we spend with clients and the time we spend internally. Growing our organisation requires extra effort and will make the division of our time even more challenging.
Our goal is to get every newcomer on board and encourage them to contribute to our growth and the DNA of our organisation.
So it is essential to find a good balance between time spent working together on moving our organisation forward and the time spent with customers.
This is a continuous process of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t.
Growing pain 3: how to keep people involved in the decision-making whilst keeping moving forward?
We stand for consent decision-making, come to ideas and suggestions together, and make decisions together. However, we can’t do it all.
With our growing organisation, we need to decide how to make decisions, guard our participation and commitment culture and keep moving forward without risking staying stuck in a status quo because the process becomes too strenuous.
The more team members, the more difficult it will become to all work together on everything.
How to handle this?
We create clarity in the expectations about who will be involved in governance decisions regarding the company’s future. We apply consent decision-making where it makes sense.
Growing pain 4: Do you establish many teams or maintain one team?
Deciding upon smaller working groups can also bring risk. In a growing organisation, staying vigilant against forming cliques is vital. Avoid the split of more senior employees versus newer employees, cliques of employees with specific know-how or role, … We aim to uphold our vision to be a cross-functional, complementary team of trainers, coaches, and facilitators, each with their expertise.
How do we tackle this?
By being aware of this risk, discuss these tensions regularly and openly.
The risk of your workforce falling apart into smaller cliques is something we want to avoid. We are aware of this. And because of this awareness, we can openly discuss and address the problem, brainstorm ideas to avoid it and take action together.
We’re only at the start of our exciting growth journey. We want to tackle the challenges it brings us with positivity and learn from them to continuously improve ourselves. Growing pains are a very natural phenomenon. It is, however, up to the organisation to use this as an opportunity to achieve real growth and change.
Avoiding the challenges will only make the growth process unnecessarily difficult.
We can only recommend you embrace the challenges and see where they will bring you because, so far, this has enriched our organisation!