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Growth Requires Infrastructure

By Warren Cook

During my career and as the leader of a human resource management consulting firm I have seen countless organizations working diligently on growing their business without taking the appropriate steps to ensure they can deliver on what they are selling.  Companies may go years without having an employee handbook or policies and procedures to not only improve the effectiveness of their workforce, but to protect the business from risk and liability.  Growth is good, however when you sell something you cannot deliver on your business can easily fail and lost credibility and reputation in such a significant way that you may never recover.

The infrastructure I refer to is the human capital management practices and operational resources necessary to deliver the products or services of your business.  Every business should have a clearly documented strategic plan in place, that is referenced, updated, and communicated frequently to align the internal capabilities of the business to the promises made by the sales force.

While financially it might sound reasonable to a leader to just pile more work on staff, reality is you can burn out your workforce quickly if you do not have the right resources in place.  As your services or products change, you can burn out your workforce if you do not have the right learning and development programs in place.  If you do not establish effective talent acquisition programs and processes, you cannot build the resource bench to meet the service delivery demands.  If you fail clearly communicate the roles and responsibilities to your staff and train them effectively, you will fall short in service delivery due to performance deficiencies and lack luster productivity.

No matter if you are a new startup, or a 50-year established business, before you expand and grow your product and service offerings and ramp up production and delivery, ensure you step back and perform an analysis of your existing infrastructure.  You need to make sure all the system, programs, policies, and practices for the workforce are current, effective, and support what your business is selling to your customers and clients.  If you are not sure where to start, it may be time to partner with subject matter experts who can guide you on this critical journey that will lead to enhanced business success.