Stage 4 – Professional : 35-57 employees

Complexity Level Increasing: Focus on Experienced Managers

This isn’t the time to think about saving money by hiring inexperienced managers. In Stage 4, with 35 – 57 employees, you are in need of managers who have “been there, done that.”

And the CEO is now spending at least 70% of their time “managing.” Getting the right people on board to take your company through this stage of growth is all about bringing on experienced managers, creating management systems and maintaining your market position.

Still hanging onto your need to control everything? Still playing specialist or out there “visioning” your next opportunity? Sorry – wrong time, wrong focus. Stage 4 is all about Internal Focus; it’s all about Internal Processes.

The Top 5 Challenges you will face in Stage 4 include:

  1. Weak project management and resource coordination challenges.
  2. Difficulty diagnosing the real problems or obstacles to growth.
  3. Employee turnover
  4. Not able to quickly get systems and procedures in place as the company grows.
  5. Your organization needs to stay informed and understand how the company will grow in the future.

Remember Stage 3? It was all about delegation, all about you, the CEO letting go. The necessity of that lesson will become painfully clear if you head into Stage 4 looking like a cat dangling from your living room drapes – you have to LET GO!

Why is one of your challenges “employee turnover?” Because if you haven’t started getting strong, experienced managers in place, your employees will leave. Remember, people stay at a company because they respect their manager. If you can begin to provide your employees with managers who know how to manage the work of the company, as well as manage the people, your employees will feel less frustrated, and will be more productive.

Stage 4 is also about helping each manager feel confident about their team, about their work, about their own identity as a team. Your job is to help them gain that confidence. Don’t worry about integrating these managers across the company just yet. Help them find “their own way,” work with them to be accountable as their team evolves and matures. You will avoid a lot of finger-pointing and department disputes if you let each manager build a stronghold and develop their own sense of commitment and team-ness.

This isn’t just about “training” qualified people to move up in your organization. Yes, that can be done, however experience tells us that it’s generally just an easy way for a CEO to avoid doing the harder work – finding experienced, trained people already hardwired to help them grow their business.

The Five Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules for a Stage 4 company are:

  1. Hire or effectively train professional level “gun slinger” managers for each department who have demonstrated the ability to be responsible, accountable and proactive.
  2. Create strong performance driven department fiefdoms that compete with each other.
  3. Allocate 5 – 10% of gross revenue to identification, acquisition and implementation of new systems.
  4. Identify and set in place with your management team, the company’s core Master Processes.
  5. Establish a strict company project management template.

As you moved from Stage 3 to Stage 4, you also went through another Flood Zone: an increase in the level of activity. Because you are teetering on shifting the major control of your company over to experienced managers, remember to focus on key processes, key systems that will provide you foundational building blocks to manage that shift.
Your company is growing up. The biggest question to ask yourself is “are you?”

All of ACT One’s programs are designed to focus on your stage of growth. If you are a Stage 4 company, we can provide you with the top five challenges for your stage of growth. We can get you focused on the “rules of the road” for a company with 35 – 57 employees. And we can help you get ready for the day you add that next employee and head into the next stage of growth.

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