“Many startups that experience zero turnover during the first year or two suddenly find themselves dealing with as much as 40% turnover in year three,” wrote Jeffrey Hull in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
I’ve seen this too. He goes on to detail the reasons for this and how the behaviors of successful Founding CEOs shift when you move more and more into “scale-up mode.” He lists: 1) Listen more 2) Align employee and business goals 3) Create feedback loops (the topic of my previous blog) 4) and build peer-to-peer networks (I’m excited to announce something about this soon).
These are all valuable insights. Now, let’s dive into some personal CEO behaviors that you may also want to consider. What can YOU do as the CEO to help your organization transition from Startup mode to Scale-up mode?
I invite you to consider these three ideas.
1 – Shift your time: You may want to start re-thinking what goes on your calendar and what doesn’t go on your calendar. The likelihood that you may have to prune some familiar activities and add some new activities is pretty high. For example:
- Are you accepting networking meetings with people that no longer align with your new priorities?
- Are you planning for “white space” on your calendar that will allow you to think and process?
2 – Shift your focus: You may want to start thinking about how the priorities of your startup have shifted from fund-raising and product refinement, to customer acquisition and talent development. For example:
- Are you involved in developing processes that help enhance customer delight and reduce customer churn?
- Are you involved in developing recruitment processes that help enhance the company culture?
3 – Shift your energy: Energy management becomes even more crucial as your company shifts from startup to scale-up modes. You can’t sprint forever.
- Are you increasing your workout, yoga, meditation/prayer time, rather then decreasing it?
- Are you scheduling more vacation times and empowering your team to lead in your absence?
Scaling a startup is never a linear experience. And, you know how much I dislike when the “must mafia” (see previous blog) tell you what you should or should not do. However, it’s natural for things to change as your company shifts to scaling. The question is, what CEO behaviors might YOU need to change too?
What have you done differently as you have shifted in your startup?
Share your thoughts below.