The stress of success

Over the last decade, I’ve had countless conversations with business owners who are facing challenges in their businesses: employees who just aren’t fitting within their roles, systems that are starting to fail under the stress of growth, communication challenges, quality control issues, scheduling conflicts… the list goes on and on.


When you add these types of operational challenges on top of the ever present issue of time constraints for a business owner, stress can add to stress and it can be incredibly difficult to know where to start to “fix” it all.


The first thing to remember is that these problems are success problems, not survival problems.  When your business is challenged to survive — when it is hardly able to make payroll, when jobs are scarce and clients are hard to come by, when vendors can’t or won’t extend you the payment terms you need, when banks aren’t willing to back you — THOSE type of problems are urgent, important and are really make-or-break type of issues.


When we are faced with success problems, it’s important to remember that, yes, they are indeed problems, but they are the good type of problems to have.


Success problems are created by growth. 


Think of your business as a child for a moment.  


Our sweet little babies start off in the super cute baby clothes and then they advance into the toddler sizes and then then kids sizes until they run all the way through to adult sized clothes and our little baby isn’t so much a baby after all.  That is also true with the operational processes of our business.  They have to grow, to expand, to evolve as our business grows.  


That was the external side of growth, now think about the internal side.  A baby has to grow in every possible way as it moves from infancy to adulthood: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language and communication, intellectual development, emotional development, emotional regulation (and let’s be honest, that one alone takes almost everyone well into adulthood!) and then they have to look at higher education and careers, and on and on.  In our business, that is paralleled by the management, leadership and strategic growth that our businesses face.


When it becomes clear that something that used to work in our business is no longer working, that doesn’t mean that we’ve done something wrong, in fact, it means that we are doing things RIGHT and that we are in need of an uplevel in that one area.


From the inside of a business, it can feel to the team members that these type of success problems are big issues within the business, but they are not. They are important aspects calling to go to the next level and the best way to approach them is to decide where your efforts can create the fastest most immediate results so that you can give you team a quick win and then to buckle down and do the longer term work.  


85% of businesses in our industry are growing right now and, it is normal, natural, and fully to be expected that you will outgrow the things that used work.


Embrace it.  


Growth problems are real problems, but they are far better than the alternative!

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