In the earliest days of a startup, maintaining company alignment is fairly simple. Since the entire company is generally one team at that point, you don’t really need to do anything special to keep everyone on the same page or moving in the same direction. As your company grows and expands, however, maintaining company alignment becomes a bigger and bigger challenge. Here are three ways to maintain alignment as your startup grows and expands.
Set mission, vision, and values statements early
The sooner you set your mission, vision, and values, the more deeply they will become embedded into the DNA of your company. Your mission, vision and values become the foundation that the rest of your company is built on. As your organization grows, employees at all levels will need to make daily decisions that have the ability to impact the entire company in unforeseen ways. By having a set of principles outlined early on that guide every decision, employees at every level are more likely to make decisions that are in keeping with the values of the entire company.
Keep lines of communication open going both ways
There is no doubt that regular top-down communication is critically important. Many organizations falter and sometimes crumble simply due to lack of communication from leaders, particularly at certain critical junctures. But leaders also need to be listening carefully to those they are leading. When employees feel they are no longer heard, they may quickly abandon ship in search of a place where they do feel heard. Losing good employees is hard on any organization, but it can be deathly for startups that are generally already stretched thin.
Have regular productive meetings
Building a business is a collaborative effort to be sure, but every one of your employees will also have individual work as well. Meetings are essential for keeping everyone on the same page, but the more time employees spend in meetings, the less time they have to accomplish their individual tasks. One way to create balance is to set aside a certain percentage of the workweek or workday that can be filled with meetings. When you put an automatic cap on meeting times, it makes every minute more valuable and ensures only the most important topics get addressed. Other issues either get resolved on their own or climb in importance until they warrant a meeting.