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Continued from Previous……
We continue to look at challenges and issues faced during scaling up the organization.
Most Small/Medium enterprises have no system in place for people development. People may learn on their own and develop on their own. Unguided and unfocused development leads to retarded or stalled development. When it is desired that a bigger responsibility may be given to someone, it becomes difficult to find appropriate ‘someone’.
People development used to be the personal philosophy of all managers previously. The organizations also planned activities in this direction. As the business pressures increased, this priority got lost. It seems that everyone is running around for business only. One could seriously contest this behavior, but it will not solve the problem. People development must continue even in the most unfavorable circumstances.
People development is done along two lines, capability development and capacity development.
Capability development means their ability to handle their current job is enhanced. They would be able to perform more efficiently by using available resources judiciously. They would be able to ensure optimum output with available input. It is preparing people for present day responsibilities.
Capacity development is about enhancing the ability to handle bigger jobs, bigger volumes, bigger territory, and bigger responsibilities. It is preparing people for future responsibilities. As the business grows and the size of the enterprise grows, there is need for doing things differently. Marshall Goldsmith, the world-renowned Executive Coach wrote a book titled ‘what brought you here, won’t take you there’. The thesis is obvious. New skills and learning are required to go further and higher.
Time is the most important, but scarce resource. Though we are used to wasting time in Pakistan, it is not so in fast-paced developed/developing countries. They have understood the importance of time and are making the most of it. Timely decisions are also part of understanding the importance of time. Scaling up the organization is a process that requires taking requisite decisions on time. Many of these decisions may not be easy, but growth is never easy.
Decisions during scaling up process keep coming up over a long period, or rather all the time because the process is continuous. Decision may include financial commitments and allocations, expansions, new teams, new business lines, new human resource addition, new hierarchies and so on.
When a project is undertaken, some kind of a project monitoring tool must be employed to ensure things stay on track. It may be a Gantt Chart or CPA – Critical Path Analysis chart. In both cases, the critically important steps are identified along with timelines and responsible people. It is plotted in a chart which is monitored regularly.
Scaling up of organization is not a project of this kind and runs rather indefinitely. Having said that, someone still needs to visualize the future and be able to direct the course. This is what is meant by timely decisions, which will ensure that organization stays on course during development.
Infrastructure is different from hierarchy. Infrastructure is putting all the required nuts and bolts in place for smooth functioning of the organization. It includes the support staff, working tools and spaces. Infrastructure comprises of human and non-human articles both, though generally it is considered to be related to people only. Hierarchy on the other hand, is how the organization is set up into functions and reporting lines.
Infrastructure development is a key component of scaling up. The functions cannot be performed without adequate infrastructure.
Many companies do not hire staff for providing secretarial services, logistic services, maintenance services, janitorial services, refreshment services, kitchen services etc. They consider it to be extra expense which may be saved. The truth is different. Support services are designed to make more time available to executives so that they can focus on more important things. Imagine a senior manager spending costly tome on the filing, photocopying, dispatching mail by courier and so on. It is not about big or small work; it is about dedicated work.
It may be seen from cost standpoint also. The hourly cost of a senior executive’s time is much higher than the hourly cost of a support staff time. It is in the interest of the corporate that it gets the best possible return from the cost incurred. It is therefore in the interest of the corporate that proper infrastructure is put in place to achieve high return on the cost, which is money and time.
To be Continued……
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