Growing companies take on new momentum when there is a growth spurt. The founders hire more expertise. New titles emerge. Loyal senior staff are unsure of the impact on their role. The founders don't fully explain the rationale for the changes. Responsibilities get muddied. The pecking order changes. Too many people are at meetings. Chaos ensues.Companies at this stage are like confused teenagers having moved from the relative predictability, rules and discipline of childhood. It is not clear who makes decisions any more, the speed of action slows down and the blame game starts. The symptoms are subtle, language turns to 'us/them' and stories of the old days are trotted out. There appear to be unspoken truths beneath the surface of conversations. The company seems less fun. There is more conflict.
Like the teenage years, this stage is difficult for all concerned. However companies can't afford to be teenagers for long. Adult conversations need to take place to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clarified.
We have dealt with many companies going through this difficult transition and we have found that this simple five-step process really helps:
- Identify the top 20/25 high level work activities in your company
- Prepare a list of roles involved in these activities
- Create a Roles and Responsibilities (RACI) chart with 4 columns:
- Responsible (the doer(s))
- Accountable ('the buck stops here' – only one person)
- Consult ('in the loop’ - be consulted before final decision)
- Inform (‘keep in the picture’ – let them know the outcome of a decision)
- Prepare a quick draft RACI chart and facilitate a management meeting to review/clarify
- Publish the Chart and ensure everybody is clear (and hopefully aligned)
Follow these five steps and your growing company, like a teenager, will move from confusion to clarity...ultimately transforming your business growth.
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