Case Story

When the Going Gets Growing

One of our partners called us in to assist with one of their clients in a recruitment process. This minerals industry company was having to recruit at a fast pace due to the rapid growth in their business. The challenge that most fast-growing companies face is building the right team that grows as the business does. Doing this process well was critical in seizing this opportunity for acceleration while minimizing the growing pains in doing so.

A bird’s eye view

We started with our We-Scan team assessment to get a bird’s eye view on the leadership foundations in place and where the challenges might be. Each executive completed an online assessment using our Compassionate Leadership framework followed by one-on-one interviews to dig deeper into the issues highlighted in the survey. We then unpacked those collective insights and provided a review report and final debrief.

At the heart of it, this team was struggling with the fundamental growing pains that all businesses face – transitioning from a high-energy start-up to bankable asset, driven by a sustainable, autonomous team. At the beginning of a start-up, everything moves at a fast pace. As the company and team grows, a maturing process is required to make sure that everyone is on board and stays on board. The smaller the team, the easier it is to get everyone in the team aligned and focused on the same things, with the same urgency. As the team grows, the rhythm should slow down a bit to ensure that the new team members are on board, aligned and focused on the same critical numbers as the rest of the organisation.


Highest performing area: Team Energised and In Flow
Lowest performing area: Leadership Coaching


Highest agreement area: Team Energised and In Flow
Lowest agreement area: Leadership Coaching

When we assess the We-Scan results for any team, we look at the overall percentages in relation to our benchmarked results. This team seemed to rate all areas much higher than the benchmark, which is insightful too. If it spoke to the truth of the team’s dynamics, we would see that quickly in the one-on-one interviews. It can also indicate a culture of wishful thinking or unconscious bias that everything is better than it is.

Highly engaged, yet overwhelmed

In this case, it was a mix of both. The executive team were highly engaged and committed to each other and to shared success. The challenge was that they had been unable to build a second-level leadership team that could effectively implement the strategy. As a result, the executive team had to do a lot of the hands-on work and were not effective at delegating duties. The executive team was overwhelmed with just how much had to get done. The team appointed for delivery felt that they were excluded from the strategy and decision-making processes, and felt a bit bullied by the executive team.

In the We-Scan analysis, we also look at the standard deviation across the framework to explore areas where the team agrees on its performance level and where there is strong disagreement on what good looks like. For this team the area of ‘Competence’ was both the lowest performing area and the area where the team disagreed the most on its performance. Competence includes performance measurement, meeting rhythm, communication flows and leadership coaching.

In unpacking this we found there was no agreement about identifying the key metrics that would overcome the problems the company had. As an example, it was clear that the need for high-growth cash resources was one of the biggest obstacles to growth, yet the team was not able to see this let alone agree upon it. There was also a lack of transparency on the key metrics throughout the organisation. Only a few people had access to key information that would support the company going forward.

It was clear that this team had to shore itself up so that it could build out its next level of leadership. To support effective planning of its next phase of team growth, we facilitated a Maximizing Team Contribution Workshop, using Contribution Compass as a tool to assess team flow, balance, and gaps in the executive team. As we are told on a flight, put the oxygen mask on first before you help others. And so often the same is true for executives. Get yourself sorted first before you start building out the leadership teams to implement the strategy across the organisation.

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