For several weeks now we have been drilling into the notion of time span capacity and some of the key implications related to your Accountability Chart. As you may recall, I think time span is a BIG IDEA with some huge implications. Today, I want to talk about one of the implications in terms of what it really means to take your organization “to the next level.”

For most of us, taking our company to the next level means ratcheting up some component of performance, like revenues, productivity, or communications. A less common, but more precise use of the phrase means adding a level to your organizational strata (e.g., going from four to five layers of people).

Assuming you generally buy into the notion of time span – including the notion that we always want to have people sitting in seats that are just right for them (i.e., neither too big nor too small) – think about what happens when you add a layer to an organization. Either someone has to “jump up” in terms of their innate time span capacity (assuming they were in a seat that was just right), or you need to bring in new talent for the new layer. Both options will cause a tremendous amount of stress. Many refer to this stress as “hitting the ceiling”, and if you think about it, you will hit the ceiling on three levels: as an organization, by departments, and as individuals.

While taking your business to the next level can be extraordinarily rewarding, it is almost assured that you will hit the ceiling in some way. Businesses either grow or die when they hit a ceiling; they ultimately either push through the ceiling, downsize (if that is an option), or they go out of business.

The good news is you can minimize the pain of hitting, or breaking through, the ceiling if you and your team master five abilities:

  • Simplification. Keep things as simple as you possible can: leverage models, visuals, acronyms, processes and checklists to make sure things are as simple to understand as you can make them.
  • Delegation and Elevation or Hiring. “Delegate and elevate” wherever you can. Each member of your senior leadership team should delegate work that can be done by someone else so that his/her own performance can be “elevated” by focusing on things that represent his/her highest and best use. If you really don’t have someone who fits into one of the new seats, bring in new talent to cover it.
  • Predicting. Embrace a disciplined, but simple process around leading, planning, and managing. Our free Vision/Traction Organizer* is a great aide for leading and planning, and the world’s greatest weekly meeting system (Level 10 Agenda*) will make you a better manager by providing a framework for staying appropriately connected, maintaining a structure of accountability, and increasing productivity. (*You can download the Vision/Traction Organizer and the Level 10 Agenda here.)
  • Systematizing. Make sure everyone is clear on the most important core processes in every single functional area and how they are integrated into the whole. Keep things simple; document the 20% of the activities that generate 80% of the value, and get everyone to follow “your way of doing business”.
  • Structuring. Make sure your company is organized in a way that reduces complexity, creates clear accountability, and has the right people in the right seats.

In summary, once you decide to take your organization to the next level, you and your leadership team need to get ready to hit the ceiling. The good news is you now know what you need to do to break through. Even better, know that EOS has been specifically designed to help entrepreneurs like you successfully take your business to the next level.

Until next time, may you build with passion and confidence.