“The bad times, as a manager, are easier than the good times”: this week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade discuss a “good problem to have” — managing growth as demand for your work grows. They talk about their personal experiences at Postlight before offering up a series of tips for managing growth, including not taking on too much while still not compromising on the approach and philosophy that got you there.
Paul and Rich’s 5 Tips for Managing Growth
1) You can’t have it all
Paul: Leadership is saying we are not going to slip our standards. We are going to make less money in the short term, because if we lower our standards we will lower the value of the brand and the quality that people perceive.
2) Don’t compromise what got you here
Rich: You made great decisions to get to where you were. You raised the bar. You were selective, you were thoughtful about the decisions you made. When you’re growing you’re getting stretched — you’re getting stretched and the demands are shifting on you. Don’t drift away from the approach and philosophy that got you here.
3) Pay attention and take care of your team
Rich: You can’t call an all-group meeting, like, “You can’t believe what happened yesterday. It’s just a disaster.” Part of your job is to be thoughtful about how you communicate, so people can do their jobs. So pay attention to what’s going on around you. It’s not all high fives. It’s pressure.
4) Look for ways that process can help
Rich: Sum it up!
Paul: Process gently applied.
Rich: Repeatable tools and reusable processes.
5) Stop trying to scale yourself and assume that other people can do their work — and get out of the way
Paul: Right now we are just seeing a ton of inbound work, but it won’t always be like this. You know it comes and goes, but right now, boy, things are hot. You can afford to take a risk on someone and if it doesn’t work out…that you know if the proposal wasn’t quite right, and you had to step in a patch it up. Because if you didn’t nail that piece of work there will be more in the queue.
Rich: And they learned a lot!
Paul: Giving them opportunity to learn from the growth, if things calm down or are quiet, you now have someone else who can help you find more growth.