Note to Self: Brace for Growth

By Joanne Williams, Co-Founder and Deputy Managing Director of Nido Petroleum

Getting old can be scary. I learned that the hard way when it came to my business. Three years ago, we were a small entity eager to learn. We were young, ambitious and ready to take the world by storm. And then we had a growth spurt.

In the blink of an eye, the entire organization changed. Though we were praying for some measure of growth, we found ourselves distressed and disrupted by it. We endured significant internal change. We wanted to slow things down, and we grew anxious about our future. The sudden growth paralyzed us. We faced seemingly insurmountable dilemmas that threatened the identity and lifespan of our organization.

So what went wrong? I believe our company culture was largely responsible for our significant successes to date; however, the very culture we loved proved to be unsustainable in the face of that success. Simply put, the company was growing too fast for the people and processes to adjust to it.

We started making changes by creating a leadership team of five senior members to echo the original, highly effective decision making process. We also moved the office from a cramped, old building to a new space designed for 35 employees. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. We thought we were on the right track, but these changes both helped and hindered our company culture. Some of my staff see the leadership team as a secretive and non-transparent clique, and the new office is great to work in, but it’s horrible for incidental communication.

The issues we have to work on can be summed up in one word: communication. But how do you give everyone enough information without overwhelming or boring them? What type of information do you give them to ensure they feel secure in the organization?

These issues are on my list of things to do. I know we’ll succeed, but it’s still tough knowing I can’t fix everything right away. It takes patience, persistence and a lot of understanding. As is stands now, my company is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a work in progress.

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