What is “Scale”?


Scale Your Organization is a phrase that has many meanings. I chose it because there are so many ways to think about growing your team, and yourself. Both a noun and a verb, I feel ‘scale’ is a very apt word to use in a number of team building situations. Here is a sampling of the ways I use it:

To adjust size or scope to meet actual need.

Very often, one of the most difficult problems to solve when managing a project is assembling the right team. There are a number of issues, including recruiting the best people for the team, getting the right people in the right spot, and sizing the team to meet the project demands. The recruiting issues are discussed in a number of places on CLWill.com (see the recruiting category).

A key issue is growing the team to the correct size

But another key issue is growing the team to the correct size. Managers are often faced with understaffed teams, and the real issue is growing the team. More than simply the recruiting challenge, they face issues of how to integrate the new team members, how to organize the team for most effectiveness, and how to develop the leaders on the team. Here again, these are issues I’m working to help you with on CLWill.com.

Finally, a less common problem is a team that is too large, or simply has people in the wrong spots. Managers are faced with the difficult choices of which team members to let go, how to shrink the team without destroying morale, how to restucture the organization and still be effective, and how to decide exactly how many are really necessary to meet the project requirements. This too, is an area where I hope you can find help on CLWill.com

Example: How do I scale this team to meet demand?

To measure against some standard.

It is a natural tendency for people to want to measure themselves against others. Even aside from the type-a hyper-competitive people of the world, it’s simply natural for people to look at the next line at the bank and wonder why they are moving faster than you are.

In business, people use the term ‘benchmarking’, and it is widely overused. How and when to measure your results is one of the big questions of our age. I find that people often over-measure, analyzing things to the point of pain, with little or no gain. And they often compare apples and oranges, drawing ridiculous conclusions from irrelevant comparisons.

Measurement is vital to running a successful organization

Measurement is important, vital in fact, to running a successful organization. I’m one of the first to ask “how are we doing?” But it begs some awfully familiar questions: who, what, when, where, how, and most importantly, why. Answering these questions before you measure is a key topic area for CLWill.com.

Example: How do we scale against the competition?

To climb as if on a mountain or a ladder.

I believe that everyone who ever applied for a job asked themselves in the interview, “this job would be nice, but how do I get their job?” It’s natural to learn, to grow, to want to advance in life.

Many people find personal development a difficult challenge

But many people find personal development a difficult challenge. They struggle with deciding what’s important, where to turn for guidance and examples, and how to get recognized. It can be painful to watch even the most promising people whither away, stupified by the challenge of personal growth. I find this to be one of the most rewarding areas of what I’ve done: helping future super-stars to realize their potential. This is a real focus for me and for CLWill.com.

Example: How can I scale up through this corporation?

To remove outer crust or skin.

This is perhaps the easiest definition to explain, and the hardest to do. Many organizations are just festering with tired people who have long since lost the passion and vigor to help the team. Or they have primadonnas who make everyone’s life miserable. But it can be so hard for managers to clear them out.

It can be so hard for managers to clear them out

They writhe in pain at the thought of losing the people: “but who’ll do Fred’s job?”, “I just can’t fire Mary”, “where will we find someone else?” But they don’t realize the pain that the incumbent is causing the organization. I’ve witnessed teams give a standing ovation when some people have been terminated. It is hard to realize, even harder to actually do, but it’s almost always worth it. I’ve helped countless managers to finally say “goodbye”, in fact one of my first jobs was “letting people go”. I hope I can help you too.

Example: This organization could use a thorough scaling.