Dr. Ichak Adizes
Is it good for a company to grow very fast? It may look like a good thing is happening if you are growing thirty-five percent a year and expanding rapidly. But this can be very dangerous. Why? Because building a company is like building a high rise. If you have built a foundation for three floors, and now you're adding a fourth and a fifth and a sixth floor (because the market demands, there is a demand for space), the building might collapse. And that is what happens in many companies. Their infrastructure—the organizational structure, the reward system, the quality of the people they have—is not ready for the expansion that they're experiencing. They run out of space, run out of good structure, run out of good people. They don't have the depth. No organization should grow straight up, like climbing the steepest mountain.
If an organization grows straight up, eventually it will fall over the cliff. A company should grow steadily and, when they reach the first plateau, they should invest in themselves on that level—consolidate and reform the foundations, review the organizational structure, look again at the mission. Redefine, retrain, redevelop. And once they have integrated their insight, then they can grow again and rise to the next plateau. Integrate the insight, grow again, reintegrate, grow again.
By the way, while growing too fast, straight up, and then falling off the cliff is the worst alternative, that does not mean that reintegrate/growth/reintegrate is the best. Reintegration/growth is only the second-best alternative. The best is to cross the street and chew gum at the same time. Grow externally, and at the same time reintegrate internally. And this really means you need a complimentary team. Some people are working on the outside. Some people are fixing the inside—and fixing means addressing what is falling apart on the inside if the company is growing too fast on the outside.
Success is overall integration, with the market measured by market share while internally measuring the amount of conflict and waste of energy that the breakdown—growing too fast—can create.