In Scaling Up, Harnish helps us discover the secret of successfully scaling our business.

It’s no secret that every year a sea of companies is born around the world.  Most fail within a few years; some make it a bit longer.  Only a small number of them grow to become big, successful game-changers.  Why?

Well, as the author asserts, even if we have a great product and our business is going well, scaling poses important, and often unexpected, challenges to any company that wants to grow. It’s a paradox.  Getting bigger should make things easier, shouldn’t it? More brains, more cash, more momentum? Wrong.

The truth is that growth doesn’t always lead to success in the long-term. If the team, the strategy and the organisational and physical structure don’t grow alongside each other, success simply won’t last. He calls this ‘the growth paradox’.

You’d think that the larger a company gets, and the more soundly its routine is established, the easier things get.  The reality is that the more employees we have, the more it takes to organise them effectively. Communication is vital in any growing organisation, so it’s essential that we structure our teams and sub-teams to keep information flowing.  If teams are too big, communication will be hindered.  Instead, try breaking them up into sub-teams of seven to ten people.

Harnish’s research suggests, we’d be hard-pressed to find a company with over 50 employees and a boss that can remember all their names.  As our organisation grows large, it’s vital that we retain the sense of purpose that keeps smaller businesses so motivated.  But how? It’s a matter of strategy.

Ask yourself: What do you want your organisation to achieve within the next 25 years? It took Apple 25 years to grow to 9,600 employees in 2001, whereas today, 14 years later, the company employs more than 150,000 people.

The One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) is a framework that will help your company visualise and achieve goals.  More that 40,000 companies use OPSPs to know if everything is running smoothly or not – and then to respond rapidly to new challenges.

Growth is complex, but with the right tools, our companies can scale powerfully. By tracking existing processes and examining our cash flow, we can target what needs to be tweaked.

With succinct long-term plans and clear vision summaries, we can make our goals achievable, while motivational management and regular communication will keep our teams on track.

Scaling Up will challenge your perception of growth and how you plan for it – not to be missed if you have ambitions to grow.

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