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Expanding Your Team? Be Prepared to Do These Things

“It’s time to expand.”

For businesses, organizations and groups, these words are like music to collective ears. When the time for expansion is reached, it usually means growth has happened, impact is being had, and demand for service is great.

These are all coveted markers of success, and worthy of celebration. And when the moment for expansion hits, there are some things you’ve got to be prepared to do, in order to expand and move forward effectively. (The alternative is to expand like a balloon being filled with too much air – trust me, that’s something you want to avoid, unless you relish the sound of things popping or disintegrating!)

First, create a vision of sorts. Sit down with significant folks – even if you’re in a solo endeavour, enlist the help of a trusted someone to help you – and get really clear on what the next iteration of your business/project/idea/team will look like. What are you striving to create?

Second, enroll or otherwise recruit the people who will fit with your expansion. This might mean hiring new staff; or recruiting volunteers; or some combination of both. If you’re going to expand, you’re going to need folks to help you do more.

Third, remember that vision you created in step one? Share it clearly with everyone – the folks who have been around for a while, as well as the new recruits. Make sure everyone understands what it is you’re striving to create and why. Invest as much time as necessary in this phase – clarity increases the likelihood of achieving success.

Finally, be prepared for mistakes to be made, and be willing to use those mistakes as learning opportunities for all. Trust me; mistakes WILL be made – by you, by others, by everyone. They are part of the expansion process and can actually be used to fuel your eventual success, if you let them.  If you’re not willing to get a wee bit comfortable with mistakes, then you might not actually be ready to start an expansion of any sort.

Bottom-line: expansion and growth can be exciting times for all concerned. They can also be challenging; stretching in any form always involves a bit of pain. Preparing yourself for the pain – and dealing with it constructively when it arises – is essential if you want to expand successfully. So, when you’re ready to grow, clarify your objective, surround yourself with allies who understand, welcome the inevitable mistakes and use those as fuel for your growth. In this way, you’ll ensure expansion that lasts.

Tracy Harvie