Despite an often uncertain climate, it is clear that as companies change, grow and evolve, there emerges a need for management. In practice, it is impractical for businesses to persist with everyone operating at the same level.
“Good management, in terms of scale-up SMEs, is something of an art form,” explains Gary David Smith of Prism Solutions (www.prism.uk.com). “On one hand, it makes sense taking a good ‘doer’ or ‘deliverer’ and to have them head or lead a team. On the other, however, surely it makes sense to reward them in other ways?”
Smith has experience in leading a passionate, talented team in a competitive field. “All scale-up SMEs are likely to be different when it comes to managerial approach,” he explains. “The two main routes to take are to either promote someone talented to take on team management, or to reward and empower them through additional work and responsibilities. That doesn’t necessarily have to be management, as it happens.”
“I’ve worked with and alongside all kinds of businesses and SMEs, and it’s safe to say that there are clear pros and cons to either management model. However, while it’s tempting to just empower and offer more varied work to the right people, all scale-up SMEs are going to need something solid in place to weather further growth".
“To be able to relinquish the focus on the daily and the everyday, it makes sense that SMEs should start thinking about how management will affect their annual and long-term growth,” Smith continues. “Some of the best teams and companies are, of course, self-managing. However, there still needs to be a core leader or driver in place – one that knows the art of good management – to foster worthwhile growth.”
“Management is a conundrum,” says Smith. “Some of the changing factors in modern businesses and industries include changing tastes, opinions, and of course the economy. These are variables you can’t always plan or plot for, so you are you are going to need a solid management plan to weather it all.”
“It’s likely tempting for some SMEs to keep working to a level playing field. There are definitely a few positives to doing so. However, there are near unlimited positives to having a good, reliable management structure in place.
The current trend for promoting to management appears to focus on rewarding people who are genuinely great at what they do. This is all well and good – passion for and understanding of a trade are essential – but are these people necessarily going to be the best leaders?
Leadership and management is something that SMEs and startups can sometimes struggle to harness, particularly as they start moving further into long-term growth. While a CEO and owner will steer a company so far, there becomes the need to install a reliable manager, or management team, to delegate daily running to. However, SME owners will need to look for managers they can not only trust to be passionate and competent, but who can also harness growth on their own, autonomous basis.
“The SME scale up scene is very much in need of good management if the founders, entrepreneurs and business owners are to focus on growing for years to come,” Smith asserts.