Here’s my favorite thing about the crazy game of growing startups into bigger global companies:
Fast-growing companies are opportunity factories.
Fast growth creates massive career acceleration for those who join early, grow the fastest, and take on bigger responsibilities.
Think “career elevator,” not career ladder.
It’s a superpower for attracting the best people to do their best work.
And successful hyper-growth is all about getting great people to do great things.
When you are growing 30%, 50% or 100% a year, the company is changing form every 12 to 18 months.
Responsibility opportunities multiply fast. Existing employees get first crack at these opportunities, most of the time.
Here’s how it works:
- When your team is 10 people, everybody is doing a dozen different things. Each team member does the work of a whole “department.”
- When the team grows to 30 people, the work subdivides from 1 person to 3 people–and there are even more things to do.
This creates incredible opportunities for early startup employees to become leaders of new teams and departments.
- When the team grows to 100 people, it subdivides again. New leadership levels and new specialist experts are needed.
- And over and over. It never stops. Grow or die.
This can happen in the span of 2-4 years. Opportunities everywhere!
Every employee has a chance to grow very fast and take on big new responsibilities quickly.
Leaders creating new leaders.
These amazing growth opportunities don’t exist at big companies or slow-growth companies. That’s why they have to pay a lot more to get the same talent.
The opportunity factory of fast-growing companies is currency to attract and keep talent that the slower growing companies don’t have. It’s probably more important than stock options.
In my 30-year career inside fast-growth companies, I saw hundreads
of savvy front-line employees grow into managers then directors then capable VPs–in less than 5 years.
You literally can create new leaders with 5x more career earning power because they can make that much more impact at a higher level for the rest of their long careers.
It worked for me too. I started on the front lines of a tiny software company and grew into a leader in 3 years. I have been at the executive table of software companies since I was 27.
That would never have happened without crazy growth and ever-expanding opportunities. And starting early in tiny startups as an exec leader or a co-founder.
Fast growth is always hard, but it creates an opportunity factory that attracts great people and grows great leaders.