What does it take to Scale Up a Business – Part One: Attracting & Keeping the Right People

Scaling Up Coaches to help find and keep good employees

Scaling Up is an internationally proven framework that has helped over 70,000 companies world-wide transform into industry dominating businesses. Strategy and Execution have a team of experienced, certified Australian Scaling Up coaches and have put together an easily digestible 4 part blog series, based on our own insights as well as insights from Verne Harnishes classic best seller: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 – Scaling Up

In the first part of the series, we are going to discuss the first decision you must face as a business owner: People

As companies grow and scale, the toughest decisions often involve people, their changing roles and the restructured organisational chart. The very first thing to do when scaling your business is to recognise and prioritise the people challenges (and opportunities!)

Scale Up: YOU (The Leaders)

This is the very first place you should look, as more often than not, the loyalties, egos and dynamics within the leadership team can create major challenges during the scaling up process.

Focus on building an encouraging environment and setting your Purpose and Core Values to align the leadership team. Make sure everyone understands your Purpose, gives life to your Core Values and can state the strategy clearly and simply (in one sentence!) 

Make sure all leadership team members understand their own role, and how that fits with the overall strategy. This will give everyone a sense of meaning within the workplace. Then, set the priorities and focus, and encourage accountability within your team. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having the right people in the right seats. Leaders set the tone of the company culture and can make or break an organisation.

Scale Up: Employees

Next, we will take a look at your employees. The first thing to ask yourself is “Are they happy and engaged?”

Here are some quick tips to empower and motivate your employees to improve employee engagement, productivity and satisfaction.

1. Help people play to their strengths

To identify their strengths, ask questions about what they enjoy, what activities they gravitate toward, and when they are happiest. When people play to their strengths, they become happier and more engaged, which unlocks innovation and creativity. The magic ingredients to success.

2. Don’t de-motivate, de-hassle

When people come across too many roadblocks in their workplace, it can easily become de-motivating. Empower your people by removing unnecessary hurdles, policies and bureaucracy to give them the ability to execute at a more productive pace. 

3. Set clear expectations and give them a clear line of sight

In order to be successful, people need to have a basic understanding of the why, who and how of accomplishing objectives, and what success looks like. Clarity helps to set the stage for high-performance teams. 

4. Give recognition and show appreciation

Both very different things, recognition rewards people for “doing a great job” whereas appreciation is acknowledging their value. This HBR article sums it up well: “recognition is about what people do; appreciation is about who they are.”

5. Hire fewer people, but pay them more

Whilst this can be controversial, having more A and B players in your organisation than C players is much more likely to give you the outcomes you desire. Start by hiring the right people though the topgrading process and taking action to develop and educate your employees regularly. 

6. Measure productivity and engagement

Regularly measuring engagement helps to identify challenges in the workplace before they become big problems. You can measure this through employee surveys. The quick initial survey we recommend is the eNPS (employee net promoter score) – where the one question asked is ‘on a scale of 1-10 would you recommend ‘your place of work’ to a friend or relative?’ – there is a specific  way to measure the results – which you can then compare with other companies Australia wide.

If you wish to go deeper however, the follow-on questions you ask are important. Rather than asking “On a scale of 1-10, rate your engagement at work”, there are a series of 12 questions developed by the Gallup organization from research over many years across hundreds of organizations worldwide  – that really get down to the issues of engagement or non-engagement. The 1st question is ‘ Do I know what is expected of me at work? The answers to these will give you the insight you need to start implementing changes and improve engagement. 

scale up people

Scale Up: Suppliers

Managing suppliers effectively is often overlooked when running a company. However, suppliers who are inflexible, unreliable or unresponsive can create a flow-on effect to your customers, affecting your long-term growth. Especially in this current environment where the supply chain is challenged by many factors.

Build relationships with your suppliers on a case-by-case situation, and nurture this long-term. It can be a real headache to businesses having to constantly source new suppliers and go through all of the teething issues over and over again. 

A simple way to ensure an effective relationship with your suppliers is to communicate with them openly and transparently, keeping them informed of important decisions and information, and streamlining your processes.

The clients that I work with have done this well and receive preference of supply over others who have either ignored supplier relationships or burnt relationships. 

Scale Up: Customers

It’s no secret that keeping your customers happy is vital to business. Particularly your return customers. These are the ones that will grow your business exponentially, by referring you to their friends and leaving reviews online to boost your rating and quality leads.

Continually ask for feedback from your customers and listen to them. Find out their frustrations and dislikes, to give you an opportunity to innovate. Be transparent and responsive and make sure to reward loyal clients. 

You will find a wide variety of information online for how to boost your customers’ satisfaction. Ultimately, you want to create a business that has thoroughly considered each and every one of your customers’ needs.

Scale Up: Investors 

Investors are an important part of the business throughout all of the different life cycles. Their insight, guidance and funding can help take your business to the next level and scale effectively. 

To keep them engaged, create a communication plan to update them periodically on key points. Provide clear and concise updates and ask for their feedback. 

To find out more about reviewing and improving the People in your company, read Verne Harnish’s book Scaling Up and talk to one of our Scaling Up Coaches in Australia to help align and accelerate your business. The second part of our Scaling Up series “Scaling Up Strategy” will be released soon. Subscribe to our newsletters to be notified or follow us on Linkedin. 

To Scale Up your business! Take our Scaling Up/Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.


Need assistance to help your team achieve your objectives to grow your business? Contact me at tedb@strategyandexecution.com.au to schedule a free 30-minute discovery meeting.


We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

If you are preparing for strategy development and/or a strategy implementation challenge and are committed to creating value for your organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us now