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  • Writer's pictureKenneth E. Fields

Bullfrogs & Butterflies: 3 Reasons Why Growing Companies Aren’t a Great Match for Every Team Member

In the animal kingdom, growth often requires shedding old skin, feathers, or hair—a process known as molting. Similarly, in the world of business, embracing change and adopting new perspectives is essential for success. Just as some animals outgrow their previous forms, companies may find themselves outgrowing certain team members.

But why does this shift occur? Why does a once harmonious partnership between a team member and a company suddenly become distant?

Here are three key reasons that illustrate how the fit between a team member and a company can change:

  1. Spark - In the exhilarating startup phase or when a company is the "new kid on the block," team members often thrive on the excitement of the unknown. However, as the company achieves success and becomes an established player in the market, some team members may lose their initial spark. The routine of predictable days—filled with meetings and reports—might dampen their enthusiasm. For these individuals, the challenge lies in the unpredictability of daily tasks. Consequently, they might seek out new opportunities in smaller companies, where they can once again embark on a journey of growth and exploration.

  2. Skills - The transition from being lauded as an exceptional team member to receiving a "needs improvement" assessment from leaders can be perplexing. Did these individuals drastically alter their performance levels? Most likely, the answer is no. As companies expand, the demands of each role evolve. The skills required for a role in the accounting team of a $50M company differ significantly from those in a $500M company. The growth of a company brings about a natural need for a shift in skill sets. What was once excellent might become adequate or no longer suffice when the company scales tenfold.

  3. Scope - In tandem with a company's expansion, its organizational structure typically grows in complexity. A successful leader overseeing a team of eight individual contributors might not possess the skills needed to manage multiple teams as a "manager of managers." Leadership roles often demand the ability to juggle numerous responsibilities, especially in the face of organizational intricacies. However, not everyone possesses this adeptness at multitasking.

So, what becomes of these outstanding team members who no longer fit their current roles? Some may explore opportunities elsewhere, while others might discover better-suited positions within the same organization.

If your company is in a phase of growth, it's crucial to remain attentive to individuals who might be struggling with this transition. Recognizing and addressing their needs could lead to their transformation into butterflies—thriving in a different professional environment.

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