Are you trying to visualise the future of your company? No matter how hard you squint, does it feel like your vision is blurred? It can feel a bit like peering down a kaleidoscope; it can seem confusing at first with optical illusions and colliding colours. With chaotic, changing images it’s easy to lose focus – and interest – and growing our companies can begin to feel tiresome, rather than the joy of the original crusade. However, with a few small tweaks and twists the patterns can be aligned and voilà!, it can all become clear and you can move forward again with a renewed passion to make amazing things happen.
Starting a business can be an exciting time and growing it should be equally so. And if your company is based on your own idea, something that you truly believe will make something better, it is understandable that you want to be right at the very heart of things. Your vision can be a bright, wonderful thing and to begin with your purpose and your journey can appear clear as day.
As all seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you, there are different life-cycle stages to anything that grows. First of all, you form your company and then it begins to survive. So far, so good: your initial vision is still valid and you have probably acquired a small team to support you and a few shiny corporate toys to show the world how successful you are.
As things progress and succeed, the urge to grow more is the next natural step in the life cycle. You will begin to ask questions, such as “where else can I go?”, “how can I do more?”. You’re now on the next step of your journey – ‘establishing ground’ – and this should be when you drive a more consistent and predictable growth curve.
Seeing the orders flood in and your company begin to fly can be an exhilarating ride and when you believe in something as much as you do (it’s your baby after all), nothing can take away that feeling of fulfilment. However, it’s quite common at this stage to find you’re enjoying the adrenaline of the ride so much that you become totally immersed in every tiny part of the process. And this is when basic business capabilities, such as organisational structure, value creation and decision-making spiral out of control. Suddenly, the ride is no longer quite so much fun.
This can leave you exhausted, isolated from your team and disconnected from the picture you wished to create, sometimes wishing you had never started your business in the first place.
Is this ringing true? Take a pause from this blog and take our growth evaluation to determine the phase of growth your business is in and where there might be some misalignment. Get your growth guide >
No matter what your start-up is – the patterns for success or failure are the same depending on the growth phase you find yourself in. As you begin to take your start-up to the next level, a more established position, identifying and understanding these patterns are key to greater success.
They will also help you to recognise that if things do begin to unravel, that it is not your fault. As the founder you will feel that you need to ‘own’ everything, even the blame, as Wyseminds resident behavioural psychologist Henk Jansen says:
“It’s normal human behaviour to feed this operational level of your business. We begin to accept the belief that being on a treadmill and building our business by always “doing” is the “entrepreneur way”.
However, the good news is that with a few simple realignments, you can also ‘own’ renewed energy, vision and success.
Question, question, question
Understanding and accepting that you cannot do everything is the first important step on your growth journey. And while crystal balls are for fairy tales, aligning known capabilities to support your company’s growth and asking a few key questions – making a few twists of the kaleidoscope – can give you a renewed focus and a clearer, more seamless path to your dream.
There should be 3 twists to the kaleidoscope
Is your pattern for growth in line with the life cycle of your business? To consider the Pareto theory, what are the three twists or adjustments that could give you 80% of the picture you need? Success is created by aligning these three things – commonly organisational structure, value and decision-making – to the growth phase you are in.
It is their misalignment that will block your path to victory so what adjustments can you make to support your company’s growth?
First of all, consider where the pressure points are and use this knowledge to make the first twists of the kaleidoscope. Ask questions of yourself and your team.
Your organisational structure
Have you empowered your team? Can you expand their roles and give them accountability?
Giving your ecosystem independence, investing in them and giving increased responsibility grows accountability. Helping them to understand their role in value creation can bring those blurred lines back into focus.
How decisions are made
Again, look at your organisational structure. Who is responsible for the big decisions and how easy is it to make them?
Poetry in motion
So, next time you’re squinting into the future and feeling dazzled, remember the kaleidoscope – derived from ancient Greek, incorporating kalos (beauty), eidos (form or shape) and scope (to look or examine) – collectively meaning an observation of beautiful forms. For an entrepreneur, surely, there’s nothing more beautiful than a business running smoothly and making a profit?
To take part in a Wyseminds evaluation, and to find out which realignments are right for your company, click here.