Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach program points out that one of the biggest things that stop entrepreneurs from continually growing is what he calls, “the ceiling of complexity.”  This is his description of the phenomenon that every business faces at critical points in growth where what used to work, doesn’t anymore. Or at least, it doesn’t work nearly as well.

This applies to systems, facilities, processes, and people.

The business person who wants to sustain growth over time must always be vigilant to things that slow growth or no longer work as well as they once did to keep moving continuously forward.  Often the thing that holds you isn’t a thing at all, but a human being.

The wise business person is constantly focused on progress and equipping her people to grow their capabilities, but sometimes the people are satisfied.  Sometimes they aren’t capable of growth beyond where they are.  What then?

There are three choices in this situation:

  1. Accept the performance as it is and learn to live with it.
  2. Move the employee to a backwater, or different position if available, and communicate as necessary that they have been moved permanently.
  3. Replace them.

Number two can work, but it’s rare because most people have a very unrealistic idea of their capabilities. The frustration this creates for them, leads to disengagement and increased problems.

Number one is what most businesses do and it’s a growth killer.

Number three is the hardest choice to make because it means disruption of relationships as well as temporary disruption of smooth operations.  However, for a business that wants to keep growing, it is an essential choice.

Think about a professional sports team.  Teams that continually win, and especially those that win championships, are always striving to get better.  An essential part of that effort is replacing good players with better players when they become available.  This is easy to see when looking at a sports team.  After all, that is what a huge part of the programming on sports talk stations and ESPN is focused on.  While it’s easy to see in this situation, it is more difficult in our businesses.

Focusing on the key area of team building is critically important to maintain strong growth over time.

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