The Real Driver behind Growth Is People

If you want to expand a programming capacity, seven is generally regarded as an optimum team. If you are embarking on a new project you'll need additional programmers and another manager. At this stage, there is no need to increase the size of the sales, support, and administrative teams.

Rather than take on one person at a time, you might feel tempted to take on half a dozen. And when the sales operation doubles, you will need an additional team leader and to appoint one of them as sales manager.

When the firm reaches a certain size (around 32) you may find you need a human resources manager. Perhaps one of your administrators has a natural touch with people and knows the legalities to handle this?

From the outside, a firm that is rocketing upwards looks as though it's going from seamless strength to strength. From the inside, it feels more like a series of lurches from imbalance to imbalance. Only as you begin to get used to the bumping do things start to settle, as the effect of newcomers is dampened by sheer numbers. People who have survived growth often have a feeling that certain firm sizes work better than others. Fours and fives, 12s, 20s, and 32s tend to work more harmoniously than any numbers in between. Such are the building blocks of teams and the administration to manage and sell them.

With a modicum of luck, it is only a question of months before you will have staff working for staff. Then you will realize, if you haven't before, that while it is people that will help attain your goals, it is their team leaders who augment and implement the policy that make success happen. If you are going to move ahead, you are going to need rowers, the strongest, most dexterous, and most supportive you can find.

When you are starting from a pinhead, it is more practical to begin by bringing in new staff one angel at a time so new faces aren't too disruptive. A little later, it may be more convenient to hire in twos and threes. When you plot your recruitment schedule, take this into account. However, take care that you don't inadvertently engineer your own decline. While taking on more staff to ensure the business multiplies, remember that this also multiplies your wage bill, running costs, and gear.

Alas, past success is no guarantee of future solvency. Should, owing to circumstances beyond your control, the firm's revenues decline, you may be left with a mountain of bills. Studies at Harvard Business School and INSEAD (see note that follows) invariably demonstrate that the manager who plays things conservatively risks less and learns most, and although he starts like a tortoise, he ends like a hare.

Note Is INSEAD an acronym? What does it mean? Forty years ago, when the school was first started, it was common to refer to the school as the European Institute for Business Administration. However, over the years, the school has extended its European roots to Asia, and has become increasingly known as INSEAD (pronounced IN-SEE-ADD). It is no longer known as European Institute for Business Administration, nor is that name used. Like Harvard is Harvard and Wharton is Wharton, INSEAD is INSEAD.

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