It doesn’t matter if you’re in an accelerating or decelerating phase of the Business Storm Cycle; the transformation is a similar process. What you’ll find on the upper slope when you’re accelerating is that you don’t have the right applications; you have people in the wrong roles, or you don’t have enough people. On the deceleration slope, you’ll find you have redundancies. You probably have double or triple entries. You have too many people on staff, or in the wrong functions or roles. In both scenarios, what’s missing is the integration you need between people, process, and technology.
Companies that become familiar with the characteristics of these phases are usually able to move through the tough times more quickly. They’re less likely to be caught unawares by the hypergrowth phase I call the Tornado. Once they’re in the Tornado, they know how to make it last as long as possible so that they can get all the profits they can out of it. They’re not surprised when deceleration does occur, however, and they’re able to shift gears quickly so that they don’t take as long to go through the necessary consolidation and transformation that will get them ready to repeat the cycle. Take my IT survival quiz for a quick assessment on where your company lands.
Once a company has gone though this, awareness of the business cycle can become part of the company culture. The sales team and the back office can be aligned, aware of what they should expect next. As the leader, your role in the Business Storm Cycle is to let the group know when the transition is approaching so that everyone is ready and no one is taken by surprise. The back office should provide the help, support, and direction that’s necessary to keep the sales and marketing team and the operational group aligned.
And don’t leave IT out of the conversation! Having IT at the table can be a little disconcerting at first, since IT usually doesn’t talk the same language. It’s vital, however, that you bring them along so they can be ready to provide the support that you need to get through each transition point.