Sometimes it takes ten years to get to the one year that will change your life.
Oftentimes, people forget that an organization is actually a living, breathing organism made up of people who frequently change, grow, and come from a variety of backgrounds. As an entrepreneur, I discovered early on that the process for developing an organization can, and should, be compared to a child going through its various developmental stages. Just as a child is first conceived and then birthed, so does an organization first start with a concept and then move through similar stages of infancy, to the toddler phase, and then on to a more mature perspective and outlook. Similarly, just as each person is allotted some grace to grow, develop, and mature based on what they learn throughout their development, so should each organization allow itself time to grow, learn, and develop.
It does not matter what type of company you have or what industry you are in, every organization is different and has a different and distinct DNA. Business leaders must understand that no company is created with a corporate culture already in place. Rather, leaders must pay attention and observe the growth and development of its culture and be prepared to implement strategic changes whenever necessary.
During the first ten years of building my company, I was so busy doing the work needed just to keep the lights on, that I did not realize how much my company had actually grown. But in that tenth year, I looked around and really began to understand the heartbeat of the organization and to do the very hard and intentional work of attracting the right people to work with me to fulfill my vision. It took ten years for me to make the critical decisions that would shape my company’s culture and ultimately change the trajectory of my organization.
My suggestion to new and established business leaders, as well as to individuals working within an organization, is to be logical and patient and allow the company time to learn and grow. Just as we would not expect a newborn baby to be able to write in complete sentences, or a toddler to drive himself or herself to the store – as much as we would like for them to do so – we should not expect our companies to grow and thrive without nurturing them and allowing them time and space to develop.