Managing Hypergrowth: Expectations vs Reality

Managing Hypergrowth: Expectations vs Reality 6451054fc490b.png

Managing Hypergrowth: Expectations vs Reality

Hypergrowth is not just a vague concept. It is a clearly defined mode of business growth. In fact, in order to be recognized as a company achieving hypergrowth by the World Economic Forum, a business must produce more than a 40% compound annual growth rate.

But while management can easily understand these necessary benchmarks, hitting the benchmarks is only possible if they can effectively run a company that is undergoing hypergrowth.

The following breaks down many of the misconceptions around managing hypergrowth, so that leadership can separate their expectations from reality.

Managing Hypergrowth Companies

Expectation #1:
Once you have the right employee personas, building a workforce for hypergrowth is straightforward.

The idea behind this expectation is that because businesses create a comprehensive plan for hypergrowth, they can plan their workforce out too. Leadership possibly has strong connections to the professionals that they want to bring on board. They may also create an employee persona for HR to use in their recruiting and interviews.

The Reality:
Just as with any good business strategy, business leaders must be flexible and create room for change and adjustments in hiring.

The core team’s close network might bring in a few key people while HR identifies several strong candidates. However, the workforce expansion needed for hypergrowth requires businesses to create a hiring model again and again and again.

They will need to shift their hiring priorities as their business needs shift. Companies must become good at identifying what qualities they require from new employees.

For example, at first, a company may want individuals who have a deep specialization in niche areas. Then, several months later it might be necessary to bring on professionals who are highly experienced in cross-departmental coordination.

There are also several key qualities that companies heading into hypergrowth should prioritize individuals who:

  1. embrace change
  2. both enjoy learning and are good at it
  3. are comfortable with the unknown and have a talent for improvising

Expectation #2:
Hiring fast and often is the best way to maintain hypergrowth and encourage it.

Many leaders think that the best way to manage hypergrowth is to stay ahead of it. They insist on hiring just for hiring’s sake. The company has likely just had an injection of cash from investors or a highly successful year of sales. Now, leaders want to spend it in a way that should ignite further hypergrowth — they start hiring.

The Reality:
Managing hypergrowth requires hiring with clear goals.

Developing a smart hypergrowth hiring strategy helps leaders to avoid jeopardizing long-term goals with an overpopulated workforce.

To avoid this, leadership should:

  1. Analyze the company’s true hiring needs.
  2. Forecast for where the business will be in a year, identifying what the employee needs will be at that point in time.
  3. Consider what type of employees are needed to reach those future goals.
  4. Hire for both hard skills and soft skills that align with the company culture.
  5. Concentrate on a balance between speed and accuracy with all hiring decisions.

Expectation #3:
Planning for hypergrowth will help companies avoid bad decision-making.

Planning is a necessary part of hypergrowth preparation. It allows companies to create a vision, benchmarks, and actionable steps to achieve the growth they desire. However, planning will only take a company so far.

Hypergrowth always comes with a lot of pressure.

Important decisions have to be made every day — decisions that can make or break a company, both in terms of its reputation and in terms of its revenue. And sometimes the decision that will increase revenue will harm their reputation or vice versa.

The Reality:
In order to keep good decision-making a priority, leaders need to manage the pressure.

This means not bending to the pressure of the short-term benefits that certain decisions will create. It means taking time hiring and onboarding new employees to ensure that each new hire has been a collaborative process. New employees should be properly approved by everyone involved and effectively introduced to the company and its culture.

There will be significant pressure on leadership and it will be coming from all sides.

The companies that succeed and maintain their hypergrowth course will be the ones that are able to separate their decisions from this pressure.

Expectation #4:
Innovation is the key to hypergrowth.

Every industry is being pressured into digital transformation. Many business leaders feel that they must continuously be on the lookout for the next big technology that will help transform their business.

The problem is that this is not realistic for any business.

Always thinking about what tomorrow will bring hinders businesses from accomplishing anything today.

The Reality:
The best way to manage hypergrowth is to be present today.

The organizations that see the most success are not the ones that spend their time looking out for the technology that is coming. Instead, they look at what is currently available and what is working best.

There is little point in identifying the implications that future technology has.

Much of the future technology that is discussed fails to be properly developed or is not embraced by the market. In other words, planning for it is simply a waste of time.

Additionally, taking it into too much consideration can lead business leaders to make poor hiring decisions. For example, hiring employees based on whether they have experience with a specific future technology that may or may not become part of the company.

Expectation #5:
Hypergrowth is an exciting adventure.

Often, business leaders will become excited and passionate about pursuing a stage of hypergrowth. They envision their organization working in overdrive with employees churning out more and better work than ever before. They see investors becoming more dedicated to company and customers clinging to their brand loyalty with fervor.

Unfortunately, this is never the case.

Hypergrowth has the potential to create unparalleled results, but this doesn’t mean that it is easy or even enjoyable.

The Reality:
Hypergrowth is hard and scary.

Hypergrowth requires unwavering dedication. This is especially true when it comes to those in the organization who are leading the charge.

The reason for this is that hypergrowth requires change — significant change — and no one likes change.

This means that those managing hypergrowth should expect pushback from all sides. Employees will not be pleased about working harder and longer hours.

It can be challenging for new hires to be integrated correctly and maintain the company’s true culture. Investors and board members will question every decision — especially if positive ROI is not quickly realized.

Even customers could be disgruntled by the shift into hypergrowth. Customers may not like any alterations to the systems and processes that they are used to interacting with.

This doesn’t mean that hypergrowth isn’t worth it. It is. All it means is that business leaders should be prepared for this and they should develop strategies for addressing it.

Expectation #6:
The main reason a business underperforms during hypergrowth is because a process or system needs to be adjusted.

While managing hypergrowth, leaders commonly see plateaus or hurdles that are keeping them from reaching full growth potential. They initially believe that this is due to a malfunctioning system or process. Managers will dig in and complete a comprehensive review, making adjustments here and there, but never really finding a solution.

The reason that the issue persists is because the root cause was never identified.

The Reality:
The main culprit of hypergrowth death is people.

A business will have a workforce that is made up of hypergrowth promoters and detractors. These are employees who are excited, or at least willing, to participate in the change. Likewise, there are also employees who are opposed to change — some will even sabotage any change efforts.

The latter are business killers.

While it may be possible to sway some of these business killers to become hypergrowth promoters, others need to be removed from the company culture before they spread their negativity to their coworkers.

Expectation #7:
Hiring only the most special employees is non-negotiable.

There are some business leaders who want to hire as quickly as possible to fill every role and get as many people putting their weight behind the hypergrowth vision as possible.

Then there are others who refuse to hire anyone beyond top talent that has experience in hypergrowth. They will go so far as to leave positions vacant for extended periods until the right individual becomes available. Neither of these extremes will produce the best result.

The Reality:
Great hiring is based on many factors.

One of these factors is, of course, past experience with hypergrowth. But, other essential factors include:

  • previous experience in the same industry
  • educational background
  • a history that indicates this individual will fit well with the company culture

Additionally, a lack of experience with hypergrowth is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives the company a chance to mold the individual into an employee with the right hypergrowth habits.

In other words, there is no set formula for the perfect employee.

This lack of definitive hypergrowth employee characteristics can make it difficult for any organization to be sure they are recruiting the right people for the job.

For this reason, it is best to partner with experts that know how to match professionals with the businesses that need them. For more information, please contact us.



Written by Eric

Eric has a passion for connecting great companies with great talent. His clients praise his eagerness to take on challenges and do whatever it takes to meet their goals.

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