Growing pains…people challenges

Business Coaching

[Continuing with my previous blog post of how a company lost a million dollar business
]“I will put in my papers than promise to get you a project manager in just two weeks!” threatened a HR manager. To capitalize on a new business opportunity, this CEO wanted to ensure that a new project manager joins them in about two weeks. The go-getter CEO’s concern (read complaint) was that his team can’t keep pace with him as he aggressively works to take his organization to the next level. He wanted to get things done as of “yesterday!”

I requested to know if they had captured and analyzed their previous recruitment experiences. Did they consider the following aspects?

  1. How many projects managers have they recruited in the past?
  2. What was the typical timeframe they took from initiating a resource request to on-boarding a project manager?
  3. What is the industry benchmark? What is the experience of their peers in the industry?
    [At this stage, it might not help much if they compare their experience as an emerging player to that of a larger company].
  4. What is the experience of similarly sized organizations? Did they practice 30-60-90 day manpower planning? Is this linked to their sales pipeline/ projections?
  5. What other metrics would they be tracking to help them make better decisions?

To be honest, they did not have any insights to share on the above questions; however, they did know that the average timeframe to recruit a project manager would be approximately 3 months.  Now… in the light of just this one piece of information, how can they make better decisions?  Would this address both the CEO’s and HR Manager’s concerns, that is, not to lose this specific business opportunity and ensures that a project manager is available in time for this new project?

  1. Could one of the existing project managers be relieved either temporarily or permanently to take on this new project, provided he and the existing client is willing to relieve him?
  2. In the meanwhile, would this provide HR manager sufficient time to hire another project manager?
  3. If they had an effective succession planning in place [Succession planning for all critical positions across the organization and not just for the CEO], a project lead could take over the relieved project manager’s responsibility.
  4. This would simultaneously address the career development goals of the project lead, provide better exposure for the relieved project manager [new client means new challenges, new learning experiences, better incentive(?), etc.]
  5. Internal promotion for the project lead, job rotation for the project manager ensures loyalty within the organization.
  6. Promoting an internal candidate would reduce the recruitment costs of a project manager.
  7. If they practised 30-60-90 day manpower planning based on sales pipeline, the HR manager would be better prepared.

Well, we can keep going on… but I guess the CEO got the picture. What proved to be a pain-point for him now turned into an opportunity to truly transform his organization and take it to the next level!

Taking an organization to the next level is not just about increased sales/revenues. It requires an organization to enhance its capability to handle this additional growth. To do that, we need to have better systems and processes. This doesn’t just ensure growth in the present but also to sustain growth over the long term.

A few questions to you, the reader:

  1. What are the current pain-points in your organization?
  2. Are these pain-points an opportunity in disguise?
  3. How can you use this to build better capability and resilience – both at an individual
    and at an organization’s level?
  4. Can we be proactive rather than wait for pain areas to crop up?
  5. Would better systems and processes help us anticipate future outcomes?

I would love to hear your experiences of turning pain-points into opportunities. Have you used this to take your organization to the next level? Do share…

Until next time!


Ronald Raj
CEO Coach & Business Growth Expert