Don't Let Your Company Run You

Scaling your company in the right way will keep you in control.

By Don Harkey

Jul 2017


Your team was engaged, focused and fully accountable to their work. Your team tackled challenges together.  Your team members did what they needed to do.  Things got done and, looking back, it was fun. 

But that was then.

Now your company has grown. Things are more difficult. As your team grows, so do the fires you have to put out. You and your team are flooded with emails, customer challenges and noise that prevents you from working on the business itself. The list of new ideas lies unfinished in a file cabinet as you wade through emails and struggle to find new talent.

It’s not fun anymore. It feels like your organization is running you.


The key to regaining control of your business is to scale your company.  

The things that worked for your small organization won’t work as you grow. Communication breaks down, managers wear too many hats and performance suffers as processes become unwieldy. Your company needs to clearly define roles and responsibilities, and build systems. These systems should be centered around improving three characteristics: engagement, focus and accountability.


When employees feel powerless and aren’t given a clear purpose or direction, the result is a lack of motivation. Employees bring problems instead of solutions and have to be managed on basic functions. However, when you engage employees with a clear purpose and empower them, you will see them perform at a whole new level. Empowerment and engagement doesn’t simply happen. It begins with hiring and on-boarding and grows through systematic training and development. The best companies have systems for cross-functional teams that identify, prioritize, and implement meaningful improvements throughout the company.


Most teams don’t struggle to have ideas. Instead they choke on opportunities. Teams work on multiple initiatives and don’t make enough meaningful progress to help the company.

“Most teams don’t struggle to have ideas. Instead they choke on opportunities.”

The secret is to do less and, again, systematize. Focus your team on the most important objectives for the year and set short term goals toward those objectives. Great companies conduct intentional and annual strategic planning sessions where key objectives are set. These companies then set goals and review their progress throughout the year.


Nothing is more frustrating than when people don’t follow through. Your managers spend their days checking work or doing the work your employees were supposed to do. They have to expend a lot of time and energy making sure it all gets done. Accountability starts with management. Great managers coach, inspire and create a culture of accountability.

You can systematize great management. It starts with training. Management training should include theory and practical advice.  Companies need to add management systems that give managers time to think about the development of their employees. 


Real change comes from practicing new habits. If you are ready to start running your business: 

1. Don’t invent from scratch
They say experience is the best teacher, but only fools learn from experience. Why invest your time figuring out how to create change or inventing new processes when someone else already has it figured out?  People Centric has the experience and can find existing processes that will work best for your company.

2. Find some outside insight
You don’t know what you don’t know. Our team at People Centric will never tell you how to run your business, but we can share some powerful insights that help you find your best opportunities.

3. Get your team involved
Real change requires buy-in from your team. Many consultants tell companies how they should do things. This approach meets natural resistance. People Centric works with your team to co-create the best approach while building ownership within your team.

It’s time to take back your business. Start by giving us a call or learn more at PeopleCCG.com. People Centric will start with a conversation about your business, and then work with you to create a proposal that meets your needs. People Centric will never surprise you with a bill and we don’t charge by the hour.

Don began his career as a public speaker and management consultant through a very “traditional” path—as a chemical engineer.  After 10 years working for Fortune 500 companies Archer Daniels Midland and 3M, he took his engineering problem solving skills and non-engineering people skills on the road. He co-founded People Centric Consulting Group and serves as the Chief Innovation Officer. People Centric partners with their clients to help them build stronger cultures based on engagement, focus and accountability.

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