It’s hard work setting up a business. Research shows moving from start-up to scale up presents new and equally demanding challenges. High growth organisations face challenges in recruiting the right talent to meet their growing needs, developing the leadership to continue to inspire and steer the organisation, the perennial access to finance issue and the need to create the right structure and culture capable of delivering the vision.
As more businesses become clearer about their vision and commitment to values, so more start-ups seem to reach a situation where a choice needs to be made. Many make the decision to stay small so that they do not compromise their values. Others sell out to larger organisations, checking out before the original vision is compromised. But there is another way.
I have recently been working with a small company committed to sustaining great relationships and flexibility for its staff and delivering high-quality services for its customers. Supporting people with disabilities at home, and in hospitals and schools; this company also wanted to make its services accessible to everyone it could it make a difference to. Growth was in line with its values and essential to delivery of its purpose. This company could not stay small and align with its values, it could not limit its growth and fulfil its purpose. On the other hand, the co-founders were adamant that they did not want to develop into a hierarchy with layers of management, bureaucracy and tomes of policies and procedures. This was not what they were about.
They were at a crossroads and took the brave decision to find another way that would promote sustainable growth, align with their values and help them live the meaning of their organisation. Taking a new approach to developing an operating system and organisational design that intentionally creates the culture you want and promotes the values you founded your business on, is a realistic and prudent option. There are now thousands of organisations adopting self-managing techniques and creating their own non-hierarchical organisational structures. Asking new questions, they find answers to attracting, growing and retaining the right people, being agile and remaining relevant to their customers, staying true to the original purpose and therein delivering the real value of the business. They found that all can be more successfully delivered by adopting these new ways of working and growing their organisation.
Entrepreneurs are by nature innovative problem solvers, adept at creating new opportunities. It’s vital to embrace innovation and seek new solutions in all aspects of your enterprise. There is a huge opportunity for growing businesses to exploit by adopting these new operating systems and agile structures. Time to ask the new questions, how can I stay true to my values and grow a successful business? Lots of growing businesses are already finding out.
Jane Pightling has experience across the public, private and charitable sector. Through her work in the NHS Leadership Academy and her consultancy Evolutionary Connections she developed complex systems leadership capacity, providing training, coaching programmes and establishing networks and communities of practice to sustain learning. She maintains her social work registration and her commitment to person centred and community focused approaches. Jane has a deep interest in the potential offered by new ways of working, designing and building organisations and communities that can best deliver this kind of service. She works with organisations and leaders to develop approaches that design in autonomy, wholeness and purpose.