A client and I were recently discussing a possible growth opportunity that will require adding personnel. This is an exciting opportunity for the client, and an opportunity that I am sure is familiar to most of our readers.
The next step is exciting, and it is necessary to take the next step to move further up the ladder, but the financial risks associated with this next step are frightening. This next step will grow the organization significantly, and the additional revenue with offset the cost of the additional personnel. However, it seems as though the organization will be adding revenue, without making any more money.
As our revenue grows, so does our expense. So our net remains the same. More to manage, more to control, more risk, but no more profit. Purgatory!
This stage calls for difficult decisions. Do we remain our present size, comfortable and safe? Or do we take the plunge?
My answer was pretty clear. Is this step a means to an end, or is it likely the end itself? If you take this step, how long with it take for you to get to the next step, and do you have a reasonable/attainable strategic plan for getting there? How much risk is there for you and for your organization while you are in purgatory?
Strategy is Key
The strategy word is the key. If you have a clear and reasonable/attainable strategy for capitalizing on this purgatory step, and you are strategically prepared to endure the pain of purgatory for a predetermined length of time, then stepping into purgatory is a logical necessary step towards your strategic goals.
If, however, you take this step before the strategy is clearly defined, using hope as your business plan, you will certainly find that purgatory is more painful, and longer, than you are prepared to endure.
Growth is a good thing. That is, strategic growth, well-planned and well-executed, is a good thing. Growth without the strategy and the planning often results in not only the failure of the growth, but the failure of the organization.