The Dangers of Fast Growth


At the Voice of Reason Consulting, Matt and I are always focused on growing our clients’ businesses. So last Sunday I was especially interested in reading Adam Bryant’s Corner Office article with the headline, “Why Fast Growth Can Lead to Trouble”.

I thought this would be especially interesting to the folks who know our work.

Having found his way in the world of start-ups, Matthew Prince, chief executive of Cloudflare, a cyber security firm, states that working at a start-up is almost like a drug. “There’s something very powerful about going from an idea on a piece of paper to enough money in a bank account to fund it, to building a team.”

However, in the process of growing, it became clear to him and his partners that with fast and significant growth, “a company’s culture can start to suffer because there’s nothing foundational to keep you stable.”

According to Mr. Prince, an organization should not grow faster than doubling in any 12-month period. He reasons that if one succumbs to the constant pressure to grow faster, there may not be any culture-keepers left in the organization. If this happens, I believe a company without a meaningful culture will not achieve its goals.

As always, I welcome your comments – do you believe it is a significant problem to grow a company too quickly?