A CHRO Must Balance These 3 Things While Scaling
by David Hanrahan, fmr. VP of People Operations at Zendesk
Picture this: you’re a leader in a company that is growing, and you’re struggling. Failing while scaling. What is it about being in growth mode, with the freedom and excitement that it entails, that nonetheless makes a leader crash and burn? I’ve seen this in my past few gigs (Twitter, Change, Zendesk). Really intelligent, accomplished people who are eager and seemingly can do anything, nonetheless lose their mojo and silently exit as a footnote. Personally, I feel on the cusp of it myself in every gig. For some context, while I was at these places, the headcount went like this:
- Twitter: 600 to 3,000+ in three years
- Change: 150 to 300+ in one year
- Zendesk: 700 to 2,100+ in three years
I contrast those experiences with time spent at large but relatively stable companies (Shell, Universal, Electronic Arts). There was some element of growth at those places — and a LOT of change happening across the business — but it’s very different than doubling the size of your company in a year or two.