Handling Capacity Issues

Too many times our clients have called and said something like: “We are so busy, it looks like it’s time to add someone. Can you help us think through the right person to add, and how their role should be structured?” We usually back up and say: “Let’s walk through whether you really need someone. First, why are you adding someone?” “Well, we are very busy.” The conversation continues in that vein, as we probe for the real reasons. Often the principal feels like they are being pushed toward growth because clients need more stuff done. That’s not a good reason.

You don’t want to let growth happen to you (growth is defined here as adding employees, not increasing revenue. If you can add revenue without adding employees, go for it). That’s not to say that you shouldn’t grow, but rather that growth should follow careful consideration. One way to make sure that growth makes sense is to follow a stepped decision-making process that first leads you through the alternatives. Next time you are tempted to add staff, walk yourself through these steps.

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