Leadership teams for scaleups: what is needed and how to succeed

Leadership teams for scaleups: what is needed and how to succeed

Scale Space hosts the second edition of its popular The Scale Factor event, in partnership with Imperial College Business School

Strong, decisive and inspiring leadership is the cornerstone for successful scaleups, the secret ingredient which can propel a brand forward or be a hindrance to growth. But what new challenges has the pandemic thrown at scaleup business leaders and what strategies are most effective in building effective teams?

This was the focus of debate at the second edition of The Scale Factor on 24 June, the flagship event series from Scale Space in partnership with Imperial College Business School.

Dan Cobley, Managing Partner, Blenheim Chalcot chaired the discussion with an esteemed panel of experts bringing decades of business and academic acumen:

  • Professor Celia Moore, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Imperial College Business School
  • David Kirby, Partner, LivingBridge
  • Henrik Hagemann, CEO Puraffinity

Click here to re-watch the event in full.

Top four outtakes from the panel discussion:

1. CEO awareness is key: know when it is your time to step aside

Having courage and self-awareness to know when it is time to step back and bring in an experienced CEO and senior team is a tough pill to swallow.

No ‘founder leader’ wants to find themselves ousted by investors or a Board, and our speakers believe honest reflection on the changing skills required during the scaling process is integral to owning the choice and finding a different role within the company to excel in. Depth is as good as breadth as companies get too big for an individual to fully control.

Don’t let ego stand in the way of your scaleup reaching its potential.

2. When it is time to recruit for scaleups, high ground is more important than high salary

Scaleups CEOs who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, will address any skill gap in their leadership by hiring the right team.

However, with the job market on fire, scaleups need to move beyond salary and find their competitive edge in an inspiring and powerful articulation of vision, culture and purpose to attract employees keen to join their journey.

Before starting the recruitment process ensure you are ready to move fast, embrace quick decision making and be prepared for interrogation on company brand values, social purpose and inclusivity. Now more than ever the interview process is a two-way process.

3. Keep your existing talent valued, listened to, and nurtured

Whilst many scaleups define their success in terms of staff growth, the current inflated job market makes hiring challenging and expensive. One piece of advice from our speakers is to keep a close eye on your employees to ensure your existing talent pool doesn’t become distracted, disengaged, and poached during a recruitment drive.

This costly mistake can be avoided through soft yet deeply meaningful engagement ensuring employees feel constantly valued and ‘seen’. Consider setting time aside for physical or virtual team ‘hang outs’, recruit mentors and coaches to encourage thinking time, and invest in training.

4. Diversity drives performance, but only if done well

There’s a difference between diversity and inclusion: diversity is being invited to a party, inclusion means being invited to dance. Very big difference, with profoundly different outcomes.

It is now widely acknowledged that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams, yet diversity done badly can be even worse than no diversity. To succeed, scaleups should encourage diversity from top to bottom to avoid it being just a box-ticking exercise. Acknowledging diversity is also an important starting point: the more clearly diversity is articulated, the more chance there is for uptake.

Watch the full event on YouTube below.

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear of future events from The Scale Factor and become part of Scale Space’s community.


Back to Blog