Scaling down to scaling up

Blog, Saturday 6 July 2019

When I start­ed as a Man­ag­er Sales Ana­lysts at Prospec­to­ry at the begin­ning of 2019, I came from a rather big com­pa­ny with well of 500 employ­ees and from a posi­tion that required me to man­age around 30 peo­ple. At Prospec­to­ry, my team is a lot small­er, and some of my con­tacts and friends were won­der­ing how this is going to sync with me since I am used to man­ag­ing larg­er groups.

Just as then, and even more now, I disagreed with them for three major reasons:

  • Managing a big team is, in fact less challenging than a smaller one.
  • Having a rather small team gives you a number of opportunities to really develop poeple's potential, empower them and make both the team and the project develop constantly.
  • The new way of doing things well is to take smaller but more concentrated steps, and work stage by stage.

Those facts are easily explained. With bigger teams basic elements like replacements, teamwork and knowledge sharing happen much more natural and easier. But with smaller teams one can really focus on the people's scale up and development for a much more meaningful outcome. And in return, very often smaller teams' ROI (= return on investment) is therefore much more noticeable. Finally, breaking down into stages ensures more robust attention.

But does this refer to team management only? Certainly not! Several very useful lessons for successful business development can be drawn from a scaled down approach in both teams and task rollout, whether you use it in your own company and with your employees or invite an external provider, who applies this method. And here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • More time to react: while working on projects and clients in stages problems will lurk quickeer and more adamantly, leaving enough time for reaction.
  • Hands-on approach: smaller teams as a rule will work in an individualized way with the task, and will therefore identify room for improvements quicker.
  • Flexibility: changes will always be a possibility because of the lack of complicated procedures to go through and the compact group of people who need to be kept informed.
  • Competence continuity: the knowledge necessary for completing a project of a task remains gripped in a team, slim enough to withhold it and allow for a continuity and reuse on your next project or task.

Looking at its many advantages, scaling down is not something to be scared of or see as a step back. Quite the contrary, scaling down in today's business conditions is rather a necessity, for it ensures not just scaling up per se, but a condition for continuous improvement and development of people, projects, relationships with clients, business offerings. In the long run, it is a much better method than enlarging tasks and teams indefinitely to meet demands; it ensures much more sustainability as well, and creates - both internally (in the team) as well as externally (among clients) - a firmer atmosphere of cooperation and cohesion, always with a touch of "to be continued".

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