No Man’s Land is the title of Doug Tatum’s book describing the type of passage entrepreneurs and their businesses must go through if they decide to grow from “small” to “large;” from upstarts of 20-100 employees to “break-out” firms generating anywhere from $50 million to $1 billion in annual revenues. Unfortunately, according to Tatum, the vast majority of firms crash and burn trying to grow through No Man’s Land or inevitably decide to stay small rather than risk the passage.
Outgrowing your management, according to Tatum, is one of four principal risk factors that fast growing firms face. Simply put, firms in No Man’s Land need competent and experienced people in leadership positions, people who have worked in larger organizations and know what your firm will look like at a larger scale. Their experience in other firms means they can act on the basis of past experience rather than rely on instinct or learning “on the fly.”
Having to let go of loyal employees who are “in over their head” is one of the most painful aspects of leading a company through rapid growth. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that some of the people who helped you get to where you are now won’t be able to help you or your organization make it to the next level. Here are some warning signs that your firm may be at risk of outgrowing your management:
- All important decisions go through the CEO
- The CEO is constantly stretched too thin and exhausted
- Execution is blocked because of conflict between management team members that never gets resolved
- The CEO “covers up” for poor execution on the part of other managers
Does your firm need help with building a management team that is capable of leading your organization through No Man’s Land? Call Leigh at 763-545-5997, ext. 305, to discuss how The Bailey Group has helped other firms navigate this risky territory.