Four ways to motivate your start-up to scale up

Four ways to motivate your start-up to scale up

Leaders need to recognise that the motivational methods they used in the start-up phase may no longer work

 

When people feel that business goals are tied to their development, they’re more likely to go the extra mile

When people feel that business goals are tied to their development, they’re more likely to go the extra mile

 

Maintaining enthusiasm as a start-up grows is difficult. To address this engagement problem, leaders need to recognise that the motivational methods they used in the start-up phase may no longer work.

Here are four actions that leaders and their organisations can take to move from start-up mode to scale-up mode:

Listen more

First, start listening rather than telling. Ask thoughtful, open-ended questions, pay attention, maintain eye contact and let silence be okay. Keep in mind that it’s not the quantity of time that matters – it’s the quality of time.

Align employee and business goals

Shift from directive goal setting to a reciprocal process that links the growth of the business with the growth of the individual. When people feel that business goals are tied to their development, they’re more likely to go the extra mile. Ask employees to reflect on their goals and find ways to incorporate them into business initiatives.

Create feedback loops

Include time for two-way feedback in weekly or biweekly one-on-one meetings with staff. That way, feedback will become embedded in the culture instead of happening ad hoc in out-of-the-blue sessions or too infrequently, at annual review time.

Build peer-to-peer networks

Even in small companies, big-company programs such as cross-functional quality assurance groups or employee resource groups, which are formed around staff affinities, can help deepen the sense of inclusion and relatedness that’s lost when the company grows beyond the startup phase.

These groups help break down silos, broaden awareness of other groups and avoid building a finger-pointing culture. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2016

 

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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