3 Key Elements to Scale Up in the Agile Way

scale up in the agile way

Since the startup movement, I have seen two very interesting phenomena. 

The first phenomenon is that the big dinosaurs (called corporations) are scared and they think that they need to change. They need to become more flexible and change the direction. 

The bigger company needs to change their structure, culture (the way people work), type of people they’re attracting to become more like the agile team that can intentionally create products and services which can compete with the startups that are disrupting now. 

The second phenomenon is slightly different from the big dinosaurs. This phenomenon I saw in most startups neither in Indonesia nor in my country, Holland. I see that most startups need to have a balance. The balance is between ‘I need money and ‘I need to organize my company’. 

The startups are competing to grow bigger and even bigger. They build the team, organization, and find the angel investor. Once they have a bunch of cash. The startups want to scale up to become big corporations. 

In Indonesia, most startups focus on money because everybody believes that if we want to create a good startup, we need a lot of cash. That perception is accelerated when everybody talks about unicorns, venture capital, etc. 

The money is important but it can’t solve the problem. So it has to go hands-on hand with strong leadership, creating the right structure, upskilling, and it isn’t about money. Because the important thing is how do you organize your organization. Because it’s different to organize 10 people with 100 people. You need people to structure it and organize the work. 

Challenges as Startups Grow

The diagram below shows, on a high level, what happened during the life cycle of the startup. Each phase of growth has its own challenges. 

In the startup phase, the main challenge is finding something that can build the business on. The startups need to find a repeatable and scalable business model. 

Once the startups find a business model and product-market fit, they will start building up their organization. A couple of people trying to figure out ‘what do we build? what do we do? what’s our company about?  what’s the user need? 

In this building-up phase, the challenges are how to build a team, get angel investment, and get traction. 

Once you finished building up the organization, the startups need to grow bigger. They want to scale up their business. The main challenge in the scale-up phase is how to build an organization that can scale. Because the treatment for the organization consists of 10 people will differ from 100 people. 

3 Key Elements Strengthen Your Organization to Scale Up 

As startups, when they want to scale up, they need to consider these three elements to strengthen their organization. 

1. Agility

Agility will make your organization stay relevant. Agility means How do you shape the organization? What kind of structure do you create? What kind of roles and responsibilities? How do you keep people accountable? How do you organize your functions (HR, marketing, sales, etc.)? How do they work? How do you set the direction? How do you make sure that the people do the work and achieve the outcome that you want to achieve?

2. Priority

Priority here means focusing on the right things because there is always so much work, especially when you’re a start-up and you need to find the mechanism for method, the framework to prioritize so people do the most important stuff first and resolve the bottleneck step by step. It’s always about: what is my bottleneck? How do I solve that? Who is going to do that in the next quarter or next week?

3. Culture

Culture means how do we create a culture that people want to work for? How do I create great or good  DNA or value system which attracts the right people and stimulate the right behavior at all level of the organization? 

How do  I Help The Startups While They’re Scaling Up?

There will be a lot of things that need to be done while the startup is scaling up. One startup will have different needs compared to other startups. 

For the current startup clients who want to scale up and have the needed leadership, So, my team in Ekipa is developing agile leadership capabilities. 

In general, we developed the five leadership capabilities program. 

  1. Critical thinking. This capability is about how I challenge people, ask why, and be more curious. This is often a lack in the organization.
  2. Accountability relates to prioritizing.
  3. Situational leadership helps the leader to become a servant leader instead of being in command and control. 
  4. Conflict management is about how I resolve things. Create an openness and communicate with people. 
  5. Effective coaching ensures the leader is a coach for the team. 

Our solution to the scale-up needs is different. It depends on the situation of the startup itself. 

Does your startup in the scale-up phase and needs direction? I can help you. I will help to create the scale-up roadmap planning for free. 

Does that seem interesting to you? Let’s have a coffee talk with me. Send your message here: hugo@ekipa.co 

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