relaxed culture of fun and freedom is great for a small group, but can be tough to manage with larger teams, however not impossible, if you’re dedicated and determined. The environment you’ve created is a big part of your company identity and working out how to maintain or evolve it as you grow is essential to bringing the team with you.

“Leadership is about looking after people, fostering the right cultures and behaviours and setting the tone for the business for the future.”

Leadership is important in any business but it is vital when you are growing. Growth usually brings about change and creates periods of instability where everything is amplified- whether that’s positively or negatively. Leadership is not to be confused with Management. In a small team it’s easy to supervise your team; you know what they are doing and how they are doing it but as the team increases you don’t have the time to supervise them in the same way. You have to clearly determine in the business who is managing and who is leading the team.

Most problems in a growing organisation result from a lack of communication. In a small business employees have sight of the whole company they feel connected to the leadership team and the brand, ethos and values of the organisation. As the company grows they need to understand the changing needs of the business – what’s expected from them and what behaviours may not now be tolerated.

“Correcting a negative culture is much more difficult than stopping it forming in the first place!”

In reality, this is the time to create a structured system of appraisals, reviews etc. It’s best to have this in place before you are big enough to really need them. If you start with the right practices the growth of the business will be much smoother. Introducing a system when you are already trying to battle growth and change makes things more challenging.

If employees are engaged and involved they feel inspired to come up with ideas to help grow the business. Your best performers will get other opportunities and if you don’t work to make them feel valued, trusted, involved or motivated then they’ll move elsewhere. Reflect on what’s worked effectively in the past and consider means to continue/develop the procedure.

The key questions you should address are:

  • Could you maintain innovative, agile ways of working with smaller cross functional teams focused onto individual projects?
  • Can you keep communication from the top effective with internal newsletters?
  • Would regular team meetings and social activities keep the right mix of fun and focus?

Whatever you do, make sure that you create a system of feedback which allows the team to comment on the new ways of working to ensure they remain engaged and continue to feel involved.

If you need more advice on creating and maintaining a productive company culture or if you’re interested in securing the top talent to build your business, let’s talk.