Friday, 6 August 2010

Hire, Hire, Hire – Managing Rapid Growth

EcoSearch build the management and technical teams for businesses in renewable energy, Cleantech & Carbon Management – we do that for smallco and corporates. I love this part of my job – I love the role I play in building those successful companies (not that we recruiters are recognized sometimes for the value we bring in the long term – ours can be a very transactional role but where we are able to work in a true partnership capacity it can make for a very powerful result).

We’ve all had that training haven’t we about “man management”, but how often do we stop to think about the application of all that knowledge we soak up over the years and its long term application impact in our respective businesses?

I’ve learned, seen and personally experienced that it is far more difficult to successfully grow your team rapidly in a smallco than in a corporate organisation. Managing to blend, mould and nurture a new team is a bit like making fine wine, only sometimes you are forced to rush it and sometimes the grapes you use aren’t quite what you thought they were (If I were a wine buff now I’d use a suitable comparison here).

Investors these days are very good at pressing the HIRE HIRE HIRE button but don’t always listen to the CEO who knows his business inside out and knows where his existing team is challenged. Mind you, some CEOs are very guilty of going on talent acquisition spending sprees with disastrous consequences, overspent budgets, imploding teams, dysfunctional divisions, poor hires, lowering quality of output.

The good CEO takes the time to monitor the “temperature” and watch the development of his people as he goes about adding. This is a bit of a dark art that many people fail at. Sometimes you have to take your foot off the gas and allow things to settle. I always thought “forming, norming, storming” theories were a bit of a management cliché but they are in fact critical milestones on which to manage. Recognising them is key. It is easy to fall into the trap of putting it down to culture and personality when actually the root cause is usually communication, and clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. These all get horribly blurred when a team expands rapidly. A good CEO recognises this and helps his team understand this and work through it.

And how rewarding is it when you see that team gel into a finely tuned machine that delivers uplift in production and sales?

Hmm - now here’s a thought: What if your recruiter's fee was calculated on business milestones achieved...? I wonder what impact that would have on your hiring quality.

By Debby Lloyd
Managing Director, EcoSearch

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