22nd February 2023 | Written by

Real-life tips for scaling your organization

It’s every CEO’s dream to scale their business—to get to that place in your young company’s lifecycle when it can handle increased demand without incurring extra expenses. But sheer ambition alone cannot guarantee a successful growth pattern. Instead, moving forward in a way that’s conscientious and careful can ensure survival in the cutthroat business world.

I’ve aggregated four solid tips for scaling a business by listening to and observing four Addictive Leadership clients—the problems they had, the choices they made, and the strategies they shifted as a result of the program. Take a look and hear from them in their own words below.


Tip 1: Know who you are and stay focused

Once you’ve established your business, you know “who” you are and “what” you do. My recommendation—when it comes to scaling—is to put the elevator pitch to the side, and instead have rock-solid answers for “why” you do it.

I’ve been a part of a lot of businesses in my life and learned a lot of lessons as a CEO. So let me be abundantly clear when I tell you that efforts to scale your business will ultimately fail if you don’t first start with your “why”—and then continually circle back to it.

Some Popular Whys to Consider

  • Why did you go into business in the first place?
  • Why are you doing the activities / tasks / projects you’re doing now?
  • Why does the business matter to you?
  • Why do you and your employees look forward to doing the work each day?


In regard to that last question, I think about one of my Addictive Leadership clients, Laura McGann, Executive Vice President of Talent at Prosci.

“My big goal this year was to Say No to projects that don’t really add value for the team,” she said. And as a result of her working the Addictive Leadership program, she’s saved herself $2,000 and 40 hours of work by focusing on making Prosci a great place to work—not chasing after some Great Place to Work Award.

I know as well as anyone that awards and accolades feel great, but do they always serve your goals? Check-in with yourself on that one frequently.

When Laura chose to focus on her why, she was able to double down her efforts on initiatives and projects that directly, positively impacted her employees. Can’t go wrong with that.

Tip 2: Have a plan in place

Business Plans are documents that give us a True North when it comes to running a company. Even though the term feels antiquated, they’re still relevant. In fact, if you don’t have a business plan, now’s the time to get one going. Because in my experience, successfully scaling a business is directly tied to your relationship with your plan. It’s not a one-and-done document. Instead, I encourage my teams to look at it frequently and challenge their perspectives.

Bonuses of having a Business Plan

  1. Reminds leaders how and where the business originated
  2. Provides purpose for scaling a business
  3. Gives you intelligent foresight when looking ahead
  4. Helps determine what’s next for a business
  5. Can illuminate ideal outcomes

TIP: Having documentation of goals is a crucial part of learning how to scale a business and will be a helpful reference for when times get tough.

Addictive Leadership client, Josh White, Vice President of Sales at East Daley, added a goal to his business plan—to win 12 opportunities in the calendar year. When he took a look at his current activities to see if they’d get him there, he realized they wouldn’t. So with help from the Three Principles of Addictive Leadership, he pivoted his strategies which resulted in a $60,000 sale.

“I said something a little more pinpointed [to the client] and asked for an opportunity to talk. This was a $60K opportunity that came from a better sales activity than I would have sent over [prior to Addictive Leadership],” said Josh.


Tip 3: Say No to the things that won’t help you

As a CEO myself, I’ve learned that every business starts with the word Yes. Someone says YES to your product. Someone says YES to working for you. Employees say YES to customers. Customers say YES to you. Eventually, with so much YES flowing through the air, everyone starts to say YES to everything.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to equate YES to SUCCESS. But when you’re facing the kind of exponential growth that a scaling business experiences, the keyword to GROW actually becomes “NO.”

Scaling a business requires a level of focus much greater than the startup days. That’s why Saying No to everything that doesn’t align with your plan to scale is crucial. In my experience, that means Saying No to things like:

  • Suboptimal performance from employees
  • Unrealistic expectations from customers and managers
  • Meeting overload and cluttered calendars
  • Tasks and projects that don’t contribute to your goals


Start Saying No by using the Three Principles of Addictive Leadership:

  1. Practice Rigorous Authenticity—Be totally vulnerable and transparent. If you’ve been avoiding Saying No to someone, put it on the table and tell them. “Hey, I’ve been meaning to decline this meeting, but I’ve been worried that you’ll think I’m not a team player.”
  2. Surrender the Outcome—You know what? Maybe they will think that. But you can’t control what other people think, say, feel, or do. You’ll have to Surrender the Outcome of this conversation (and I think you’ll find that people will respond to your authenticity and vulnerability with understanding and respect more often than not).
  3. Do the Uncomfortable Work—Say No to the things that are standing in the way of your established plan to scale your company and reinvest that time and money in tactics that align.

It may sound hard, but it’s so doable and so freeing. Take it from Michelle Haggerty, Chief Operating Officer at Prosci. She said, “I backed out of seven meetings I didn’t need to be in. To be honest, that work—whatever happens in those meetings—is going forward without me. I got a full workday back, and I got stuff done.”

I love that for her. And I want that for you.

Tip 4: Say Yes to the right things

Saying No to the things that don’t fit into the future of the business, means that time and space open up in ways they were utterly blocked before. This means that you can actually start saying YES again. This time, to the right things.

TIP: Saying No is difficult, but it’s worth it when you can reinvest the time and effort you’ve saved into the things that align with your business plan.

Here’s a real-life example from Jim Albert, Vice President of Product Delivery at LDA Engineering.

Jim had an employee that wasn’t adhering to the established, efficient processes that were put in place to allow optimized time and effort from the whole department. As a result, the team was battling over resources, deadlines were getting missed, and projects were getting stuck. Each incident was costing $5,000 and hours and hours of time.

Jim said No to suboptimal performance, helped the employee get on board with the process, and now he’s saving time and money.

“I was able to save 2-3 hours per incident, about 8 hours a week. It allows me to focus on recruiting, invoicing, and production. These are the things I would have to do after-hours, on weekends, or sometimes be late on deliverables,” he said. “I’m not missing the deadlines I used to miss anymore.”

There’s a lot that goes into scaling a business, but these four examples created real change for real people in real companies.

Ready to do the same? Get the proven program designed for companies in growth mode! Start by taking our simple assessment today: https://addictiveleadership.com/addictive-leadership-assessment/