Rapidly growing companies, startups or otherwise, are faced with a daunting challenge while they scale. Having the right growth strategy, hiring the right people in the right positions, and having a culture to support them are all crucial elements to sustainable growth.
You may already know that the balance between all of these elements is critical. But there is one component of strategy that is often overlooked in the scale-up discussion for small, growing businesses: Training.
Training as the Linchpin for Growth
Training is often considered a component of strategy, and is often discussed as part of the balance needed for growth. As your organization grows, you want and need a dynamic, well-trained workforce, and professional development becomes a strategic objective in the company’s overall planning. But there is a place for further–and dare I say more impactful–integration of strategy and training. That is, bringing a strategy component into training.
Integrating your company’s strategy into training ideally produces two key outcomes:
1. Alignment. Your workforce, managers and senior leaders are trained and get better understanding of how strategy works for the company. This has a positive effect as change (vision, new objectives, etc) is managed across your rapidly growing organization.
Misalignment between culture and strategy can happen in many different ways. For example, if the culture and strategies don’t align, the organizational culture is one of creativity, new possibilities and collaboration, where the strategies are rigid, prescriptive and highly structured. Here, workforce has an opportunity to inform the strategies, helping leadership more effectively tailor the strategies around collaboration and not structure.
Another example exists in the case of an organizational culture that is non-existent or splintered. There is no hope of aligning with said strategies, because the workforce can’t work effectively together. This provides the organization an opportunity to affect culture change through training, be it related to strategy, process, safety, and/or performance.
2. Input. Your workforce and leadership are provided an opportunity to actually INPUT into the strategic process. For instance, as they learn about vision setting or goal setting, they are brought through an exercise of coming up with goals they can support within the company. This ultimately creates greater buy-in for the entire strategic process. Which, in turn, leads to bottom line results.
Training can potentially act as a bridge to help prepare or refine the culture to understand and buy into the strategy more readily. Furthermore, by integrating strategy into training, real work gets accomplished, and it gives managers the opportunity to talk to their teams after the training, to keep it alive.
At gothamCulture, we talk about culture eating strategy for breakfast. Meaning, you can have all the right strategies in place, but if you don’t have the culture to support them, your best-laid plans go nowhere or mean nothing. Leadership, strategy and culture are inextricably linked, and training may be your untapped conduit for integrating these fundamental business components and help successfully scale your growing company.