The Missing Piece of Your Business


Small, growing businesses are often one key hire away from lifting off of the runway and beginning to reach their potential.

Companies often begin their voyage with a key leader or two, and some employees. Growth occurs; then a certain inflection point is reached where the company moves either toward elevation, or stagnation.

Missing pieceThe problem isn’t more clients. It’s not more or better employees and contractors. It’s a missing piece at the executive level.

When the founder of the company is a visionary or sales/relationship pro, then the missing piece may very well be an Operations lieutenant. When the top leader is a technician, it may be that a great Business Development leader is needed to reach the next level. A company may start with a great product, but soon needs someone who can shape long-term strategy.

As companies grow, the initial leader(s) typically can “fake it” in certain areas that really aren’t their stong suit until a critical mass of complexity or workload is reached. That’s when it’s time to make a realistic, humble, and wise assessment of one’s limitations, and begin to look for a complementary team member who has the ability take on the load that is dragging down the top leader’s effectiveness.

Sounds easy, right? Just put up a job description on Monster and they’ll come flooding to your door!

While that hiring approach may work for people at the “resource” level of the organization, it’s far less likely to succeed at the key leader level. This is where you need to activate your network of trusted clients and partners, and very clearly spell out exactly the type of person you are looking for, with a short-list of must-have qualifications. This is a no-compromise hire of a proven, responsible performer. You don’t have time to babysit and develop this person – they need to come in and take on an existing load from Day One.

I’ve seen leaders flounder regularly because of one missing piece in their organization. And sometimes, it boils down to a trust/control issue – the founder(s) can’t bring themselves to let go of that level of responsibility, choosing instead to micro-manage themselves into stagnation.

Many hires emphasize talent, or tasks. But often, the missing piece is a manager/builder who can take ownership and give (not require) direction. Key players with initiative, responsibility, and business-savvy are gold when growing a company.

Here are five things to keep in mind:

Previously in the Stuck and Struggling series:

The Tyranny of the Urgent
The “Can’t Let Go” Leader
Direction Attention Deficit Disorder
Navigating the Whitewater
Misplaced Persons
When Your Business Has Warts

Here are some of the upcoming topics:

  • Inconsistent Revenue Model
  • Commodity or Poorly Packaged Offerings (differentiation issues)
  • Operational Vacuum (insufficient structure/process to enable growth)
  • Bad Clients/Wrong Clients
  • Bad-Apple Employees
  • Broken Internal Communication (multi-faceted topic)
  • Scalable/Configurable vs. Custom Offerings (the craft-work, time-for-money trap)
  • Foggy Marketing/Messaging (failure to communicate clearly with clients and referrers)


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Image courtesy of Danilo Rizutti via

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