Building to . . . Not Scale?

I was chatting with a founder recently about how he plans to grow his company. He’s realizing he can’t do everything himself, so he’s trying to hire people in roles that are taking up too much of his time. He’s moving from executing the work to managing people who do it. He isn’t looking to hire anyone who can think strategically or own functional areas of the business. Instead, he’s building a company where all decisions run through him.

As I asked more questions about why he’s taking this approach, I realized that he doesn’t see how big an opportunity is in front of him. He’s trying to build his company to handle today’s customers, not tomorrow’s.

This founder can build a great business. But he won’t do it this way. His growth will be limited because his team will be built to execute, not problem solve and think independently. As they encounter new situations, they’ll have to come to him for answers. The likely result? He will become the bottleneck that slows his company down.

If you’re a founder looking to grow your team, take a moment to ask yourself if you’re building a team to scale—or not. Nothing wrong with either; just make sure your approach aligns with your goal.