For those fast-growing SMEs, there comes a crucial point when the management team’s responsibilities and structure need to be adapted or re-drawn. However, this isn’t just a matter of issuing individuals with new priorities, but should instead help managers to realise a) what they should stop doing in order to accommodate the new priorities and b) what outputs they need to achieve to help the business reach its next milestones. But where should they start and what do they need to consider?
Here are four questions to consider when building a strong management team:
1.Have you future proofed your management team?
Firstly, the business owner should take an honest look at how responsibilities are currently being carried out and observe whether people taking on core management functions – such as Marketing, HR, IT and finance – have the right set of skills and knowledge for future plans.
In the early days of a start-up’s life, it is quite normal for the business to be led by just one or two individuals. Often they will share the management responsibilities between them in addition to carrying out other day-to-day activities. This is not sustainable as the business grows, and the founders need to realise this and arrange a strategy for letting go or sharing the load.
2.Are you keeping your vision fresh?
Light bulb during the first or start-up phase, most entrepreneurs have a very clear view and understanding of what they would like the business to become in three to five years and consequently are more than happy to work long hours to continue its growth.
To keep growing, however, business owners should acknowledge the need to create a team of people around them with the right talents and skills to drive sales and future profitability. This is a key moment in the development of the business, and will require a clear strategic vision and planning to guide the future growth of the business.
However, it is essential to realise that nothing will happen unless the existing leaders of the organisation begin to do things differently or do different things. Without this commitment by the management team to make changes, any new strategy and future growth of the business will hang in the balance.
3.Are you assessing and re-drawing the lines of responsibility?
Over time and as the business grows in size, it is common for business owners and their management team to assume more and more key responsibilities.
Before re-drawing the lines of the management team, time should be made to take a step back and evaluate the strengths, motivations and even the aspirations of all existing members. The aim of this evaluation must be to better utilise their talents and motivations, and ensure they align with any new strategic objectives. It is worth noting that this evaluation is likely to highlight tasks that will still need to be carried out by existing managers, but also those they need to start doing and those they need to stop / hand over to ensure that they are focused on the highest value tasks for their level of capability and thus reduce the lower level activity in which they are still involved. .
Once finalised, each individual’s new priorities need to be set out as clear, actionable objectives that have measurable outcomes. The management team as a whole must ensure that all areas of the strategy are covered, with no gaps, duplication and have clear ownership.
4.Are you supporting your managers responsibilities?
Vital to the success of the businesses growth, decisions now need to be taken to help current managers stop doing tasks and ensure they have the capacity for their new priorities through delegation, reorganisation or redesign. For example, if the business owner is keen to free up management time for other activities, it may be necessary to outsource key functions such as payroll administration, recruitment or training to external experts. Ultimately, defining the tasks that managers should no longer be carrying out, is just as important as defining their new responsibilities.