Managing growth is no easy feat, and, to be honest, we here at GMG are growing fast. As in… lightning fast. Examples? Let me paint a picture for you: we are packed in like sardines awaiting our new office space. People need to leave the office to sneeze so we don’t all get sick. Tuna has been outlawed because the stench lingers in a stuffy room. We are fleshing out new public relations, strategic account, and design processes that ensure we continue to meet the very high expectations our integrated marketing clients have come to expect, and which, are the very direct impetus of our rapid growth. So, you see, we get growth companies. We always have, but we, truly are one. And, I am here not only to lead our strategic client accounts, but also to help scale the business.
As we do, here’s a fact: You can read self-help business books on rapid growth all day long, but, in my experience, success boils down to one thing: Care about your growth company more than you care about managing your growth company. What do I mean?
Let’s start with a few simple truths: (These are truisms, i.e. you don’t get to argue with them.)
· Start-ups grow fast
· Tech start-ups grow very fast
· Growing fast is scary
· Growing very fast is scarier
· Growing too slow is the scariest of all
· Growth companies move in all directions
· Growth companies move in leaps and bounds
I mean to say, that the most important thing to properly executing a growth plan is the kind (or the “who”) of people that understand and exemplify some of the basic tenets of being a good human being. In as much as it is true that one can train almost anyone to do almost anything, it’s illogical to place too much emphasis on special skills or skill sets. This is not to say that a PR person doesn’t need to know how to write a pitch or speak to the press, or that an engineer doesn’t need to know how to code, because certainly they do…in fact, they must know how to perform their specific trades well.
Instead, it means that the people you hire must have manners, be honest, humble, polite, selfless, thoughtful, reliable, unentitled, down to earth, believe in putting others before themselves, and have a faithful understanding that all people, of all colors, creeds, religions, sexual orientation, and/ or otherwise, are equal in every way. You must hire people with these qualities above all else.
You must build an organization out of people that you admire. These people will go the extra mile for you – willingly. They will never ask for what they do not deserve. They will highlight and seek to correct failings prior to looking for praise on their good work, because they realize that the merit of such work stands on its own. They will work as a team to make the team better in all things, all the time. The product of this mindfulness will be a solid and controllable growth curve because it will be executed by people who matter, and who matter because they care.
In short, from the CEO on down, how much each pillar of your culture (READ: team member) cares about your growth company is far more important than how much you care about managing your growth company. And, hey, working with good people makes life a lot more enjoyable, too.
Horace Greely, the famous newspaper editor of The New York Tribune captured this best when he said, “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures, and that is CHARACTER.”