January 6, 2014
Growing Pains by Roger North
At a recent holiday gathering, my 15 year-old nephew wanted to stand back-to-back with me. He wanted to see how his recent growth spurt measured up to his tallest uncle. He seemed to be feeling pretty good about being within 3 inches of me.
Justin has grown about 5 inches in the last year. When I asked him if he was experiencing any growing pains, he told me that he has had some pain in his back and his mom thinks it is related to his fast growth.
I know the feeling!
Most of us think about growth as vital, exciting, even fun. But it can be painful, too.
May I share personally here? Some of you have commented on the growth you have noticed at North Group in the last year. Thank you for noticing. We have been experiencing a growing demand for our services. We’ve been able to recruit some really talented people to help us meet the demand. We have gotten a fair amount of affirmation for the help we are giving to our clients and for our ability to be relevant in the marketplace. It’s been a vital, exciting, even fun year at North Group.
But that’s not all it’s been. I’ve been experiencing some pain along the way. I no longer know everything that is going on in my company. I don’t know all of our clients by name anymore. I am unable to connect with all of my colleagues on a weekly basis as I used to. We are outgrowing our beautiful building, and I don’t want to move. And my partners don’t want me to be in charge of everything anymore. Imagine that!
Of course, we work with growing businesses for a living. So, it is time to take some of our own medicine. That means me in particular. It can’t be advisable for me to consult with myself, can it?
All kidding aside, we are taking this growth thing pretty seriously. We are looking at all our systems and processes. We’re upgrading our technology. We are rearranging responsibilities to become more efficient and effective. We are changing a lot of stuff.
And I’m looking at myself. As the guy who has been here all along (almost 17 years now), I suspect I am experiencing the most pain. That is as it should be. Founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs should not be immune to the pain and change that growth brings. In fact, they should be on the leading edge it.
So, like my growing nephew, I’m experiencing a few pains. After having thought it through, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s to a painful 2014!