How to Maintain Culture When You're Growing Quickly

BY Kathy Crosett
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Is the new service you just introduced to the market a big hit? Congratulations. You’re probably trying to quickly hire people while maintaining your business momentum. This stage of company growth can trip up many CEOs. Here’s what Brian Halligan, CEO and co-​founder of HubSpot, suggests doing to communicate with employees and build loyalty.

Rapid change excites people. Employees want to be part of a success story. They also need to hear what’s happening and what to expect. If you want your team to stay committed to the goal, you need to expand your communications outreach.

You may hesitate to give in-​person presentations to all employees. After all, not every CEO is a natural-​born speaker. Get past your reticence. As the leader of a growing company, you’ll be called on regularly to make presentations. Invest in yourself and your future by taking speaker training. The techniques you learn will help you develop your unique style and project confidence when you talk at your all-​hands meetings.

You may be obsessed about finalizing a partnership that will take your company to the next level. Or, you could be working long hours to create the three-​year plan for your organization. Those activities will require you to operate behind closed doors. You may even be working off-​site some of the time. Whatever the reason, if you're not as available as you used to be, people notice. Employees put the behavior of senior management under a microscope. The slightest change in routine is grist for the rumor mill.

You can head off whispering and gossip by making frequent appearances. Halligan makes it a point to walk the hallways between meetings. You can do the same. Stop by an office or a cubicle. Chat with an employee or two. These actions show that you’re still the same CEO, and that all is well.

Finally, you need to plan for the long term by delegating authority. When your company was smaller, it was reasonable to expect people to check in with you before they made major decisions. In a larger organization, you’ll slow down progress by insisting on making all the decisions. Appoint one or two key individuals who will assume some of this responsibility. The change won’t be easy, but support them when they make decisions, even if they don’t do it like you would have. Show everyone that your assistants have your confidence.

Heading up a growing company presents huge challenges. You also have an opportunity to build an organization with an awesome culture. Demonstrating confidence, communicating frequently and showing you care will help you preserve your culture.