Company growth: How our customer overcame growth thresholds.

Table of contents

A company grows from 35 to 80 employees in 5 years – and becomes the market leader in its core business.

You can read how it did it here. The third part of our series on successful company growth.
In our last articles, we described typical company growth cycles and gave you tips on how to overcome growth crises. This article shows how a company overcame growth thresholds and continues to prosper very successfully.

Reason for consulting: Company growth

We – the berliner team – came across the innovative company in question when it had around 35 employees. The company had embarked on a course of strong growth. Despite a number of attempts, it was not possible to implement the organizational structures without support: Many employees were dissatisfied, no longer felt seen, criticized the lack of structures and simply no personal leadership. In addition, there was another business area that bucked the trend and was well positioned in the market, but presented the company with further challenges. Despite their financial success, the two founders and managing directors had a vague feeling that something was no longer working as it should. Up to this point, they had managed all employees directly. Tentative attempts to introduce structures and hierarchies were unsuccessful. There was also the concern that a hierarchical company would no longer be theirs, because the corporate culture was based on flat, flexible structures, on employees being able to act quickly and independently and on a family atmosphere.
The company was facing a classic growth threshold.

>>> Read here:
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How the company overcame its growth thresholds

Introduction of a second management level

With the sparring partner berliner team, it was possible to adopt new perspectives. This was followed by a process of recognizing growth and its necessities – and letting go of the status quo. The founders agreed to install a management level. The premise was that the spirit of the company should be preserved even as it grew. Well-founded selection procedures were used to check who was suitable for management positions in the company. The best salespeople were not simply turned into managers, but it was determined where there was leadership potential. This was also a big step for the two managing directors, as they allowed others to take on responsibility in their company. A common understanding of leadership was established. To this end, many discussions were held, workshops were organized and all employees were involved.

Positive corporate culture

All managers and employees were trained in how to communicate well, give constructive feedback and manage conflicts. The aim was to gain a common understanding of how we want to work and interact with each other in the company. This was facilitated by a shared pool of tools that ensure a common way of working for everyone. The berlin team’s four building blocks – “cooperation”, “self-management”, “communication” and “conflict management” – have formed and continue to form the basis for pleasant and goal-oriented cooperation within the company.

An important point in the growing company was to maintain the positive corporate culture even with the planned growth. Employees should feel comfortable. A lot has been done to promote cooperation in workshops, meetings, after work and during breaks, as well as to support cross-interface and cross-location collaboration. The employees were written in capital letters. Incidentally, this employee-friendly attitude earned the company an award for the most attractive employer in the German SME sector – several years in a row.

>>> Read here:
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The next challenge: becoming more efficient

Once the management level had been established, the company continued to grow. It was as if an obstacle had been removed and things suddenly started to move. Within just under 5 years, the company grew to 80 employees. With each new project, the company hired a new employee. As many new employees were on board and the others had a lot of work to do to train them, it soon became clear that the next challenge would be to increase efficiency in order to maintain the return on investment. Once again, there was a phase of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Unrest spread – the employees had many conflicts among themselves. Something had to happen.

Clear structures and processes

The necessary increase in efficiency was achieved by scrutinizing the organizational structure and focusing on scalable growth. Workflows and processes were then described in detail. Responsibilities and interfaces have been clearly defined. All managers and many employees were involved in creating a manual for the results, i.e. all company processes. Company know-how was cast in the form of templates and checklists. This ensured that even young project managers were able to achieve a high level of quality and work capability very quickly. The knowledge available at all times speeds up the induction of new employees and helps existing employees to carry out their work to a high, uniform quality. Efficiency and quality also increased as a result of “make-or-buy” decisions to outsource delegable work that project managers had previously undertaken to external service providers, allowing project managers to concentrate on their core tasks.

>>> Read here:
The secret of disruptive technologies. What successful companies do differently.

Decentralization of responsibility

Today, the company is once again undergoing a restructuring process. The aim is to consistently shift responsibilities and decision-making powers to the project manager and the locations. The project managers are strengthened by being extremely well trained. This puts them in a position to take on a high level of personal responsibility. Activities that other employees can also perform are passed on to them. In order to make company growth scalable and promote quick decisions at the customer, the project manager has full, sole responsibility for his project. Guidelines help him to make decisions in the interests of the company. The central functions are now seen more as consultants or service providers.

New growth for this company is now possible and very likely. From an initially unknown niche provider, the company has now developed into a “hidden champion” in its core business. It has created a new market and consistently achieved market leadership in this area. Growth thresholds overcome!

Would you like to find out more about company growth and growth thresholds or boost your own success? Talk to us:

The authors

Oliver Grätsch
Michelle 550
Michelle Templin
Christian Grätsch
Matthias Beikert
Susanne Grätsch
Monika Bt 550x550
Monika Steininger
Kai Hübner
Philipp Andresen 500x550
Philipp Andresen
Anna Isabell Arendt
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Komplettes Team
Berliner Team