The Growth Curve:
Solving Early Chaos

For the fortunate startups that make it past the first year, the rapidly shifting dynamics often bring chaos. They’ve sold something, made some money and now it’s the ultimate challenge of delivering it to customers consistently.

Entrepreneurs don’t tend to be the most structured people. They’re folks with vision, with big ideas, with a strong allergy to the word “no” and that’s what drives their success. They’ll see it through to the end, often by sheer will, not necessarily by process. And this drives their success.

The hard part is repeating the heroic efforts.

Making matters more intense is pressure from investors or even well-intentioned friends and partners who push them to capitalize on the early blooms of success.

Many of our customers were in this pandemonium before coming to us. Our goal achievement software, MyObjectives, puts in place a structure for managing through the thrilling yet terrifying early stages of growth.

How?

MyObjectives guides business owners or executives through the thoughtful process of setting long-term goals that will drive the business for the next three to five years. By documenting their vision and making it visible the entrepreneur empowers employees and partners to support it. The boss effectively harnesses the energy and time of people across the organization.

Here’s the shorthand version of how this works:

  • Write down your goals
  • Share them with the team
  • Everyone writes SMART objectives tied to yours
  • Review everyone’s objectives for alignment
  • Each team sets up frequent scorecard check-ins
  • Track progress
  • Have fun winning

Let’s go a little deeper.

The players on your team collaborate to craft objectives using the SMART methodology (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound). The team’s scorecard and each individual’s objectives connect to and advance the top-line scorecard.

Usually teams set up a new scorecard each quarter.

Business leaders review the objectives of teams and approve before a new quarter begins. With the knowledge that their teams are working on the right projects – and with team scorecards at their fingertips for review – entrepreneurs can continue to do what they do best: develop new ideas, explore new market opportunities, and clarify their vision.

Teams make progress. And their scores go up. This naturally engages and motivates employees. Most of our customers focus their daily or weekly team meetings around MyObjectives. That centers conversations efficiently on the items that need extra resources or an executive decision.

Taken together, it’s a recipe for avoiding chaos.

This is part one of our five-part Growth Curve series. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 this week: “Delegating without Fear” and “Engaging Employees Who’ve Spaced Out.” 

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Ben Lamorte is the founder and president of OKRs.com. He advises business leaders on the best methods for defining and making measurable progress on their most important goals.

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