It’s completely normal to hit some cultural speed bumps when scaling your business quickly. To continue the orchestral metaphor, your newly-doubled orchestra is more likely to create twice the noise than twice-as-good music.
And that’s okay.
This usually happens for 1 of 2 reasons:
- The pace at which you’re scaling means it’s hard to properly embed your new hires into your culture, and vice versa
- Your increased size means you being to lean into adding more structure and process, which takes away from the culture you had when you started
Whilst no one wants your exciting, forward-thinking business to become a slow, stifling corporate, some aspects of your growth will inevitably chip away at your culture. Establishing new processes, formalising hierarchies and publishing policies is always going to butt heads with employee engagement and make everyone feel like the rocket ship is slowing down.
However, it’s still possible to strike a balance between necessary change which pushes the company forward and absolute must-haves that made your culture great in the first place. It’s fairly simple to pick out the best bits of your culture – what makes it a great place to work and what’s got you to this point. It’s trickier, and more important at this stage, however, to dive into which elements of your culture will continue to push your business forward, and which should be left behind.
Based on the strategy for your business and the inherent uniqueness of each cultural element, you should begin to plot them onto a matrix something like this:
Where does each of your behaviours, values and cultural norms sit? Making these distinctions will put your answers into four buckets; legit best-practice, secret sauce, baggage and sacred mythology.
Our utopia here is the ‘secret sauce’ – a combination of unique and strategy-serving cultural elements. This is what will provide you with the balance between culture and structure as you continue to scale, and can be crucial to the next phase of your growth.
Image credit: Stephanie Gioia, Xplane.com
Feel wanted to grow its team within 8 weeks by implementing a culture-
first hiring process. They wanted to attract more suitable candidates but didn’t have the time to focus on recruitment.