Tag Archives: scaling

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scaling side effects

Scaling Side Effects and Cultural Impact

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Scaling works both ways. Organizations scale up, or they can scale down. It happens with leadership changes too. Sometimes they are mutually inclusive. Are you aware of the scaling side effects?

Changing Organizations

Recently, I spoke with a middle management employee of a rather large software firm. He was in touch with me because he was looking to make a career move.

When I asked why, his short version answer was connected to problems arising from a recent merger. His firm was bought by a larger firm and now scaling was threatening his otherwise long-term position.

I’m not sure if this gentleman is a star, or below par extra weight, either way his time is being spent on an exit strategy.

In another case, I’ve had communication with an organization that has been forced to scale down. Prior leadership is gone. Temporary leadership is installed, and many employees have, as we often say, “jumped ship.”

This organization prepared to make some cuts, but they didn’t appropriately prepare for the attrition that would result from a mismanaged scale up that then resulted in a mismanaged scale down.

Scaling Side Effects

One scaling side effect is losing people. Sometimes good people.

Boards of directors and organizational leadership often like to believe that in times of turmoil, the worst will go. Unfortunately, this depends largely on the leadership.

My experiences across several decades leads me to believe that often good employees go while the weaker and less effective employees stay. Leadership sells this as a culture of loyalty. In reality, it is often a sign of the side effects of mismanaged scaling down.

In contrast, when scaling up, if the leadership assumes that all the good and well needed talent is external, then they too have a problem.

Bad scaling up choices lead to bad scaling down consequences.

Your best employees have the most choices. They have more options and are very marketable. Certainly, some will hang on for a long time because they are committed, others will hang on because they lack choice.

On either side of the scale, up or down, culture will play a significant role.

The Other Premise

There is one other premise. The organization that is stable, not scaling.

I’ve met a few of these self-proclaimed stable organizations. Often the culture felt in the trenches is different from the culture described by leadership. The trenches culture is more representative of employees who have given up trying to make things better.

Scaling may be a plan, but how will you manage the side effects?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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positive culture appreciative strategies

3 Ways to Create a More Positive Culture and Scale Up

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Positivity is a popular discussion item. People talk about being positive, but what they really mean is that they are trying to not be negative. What about scale up versus scale down or spin up versus spin down? Are you part of creating a positive culture?

Our modern society has some interesting interest groups. We have groups who focus on helping the less fortunate. Groups interested in global environmental changes, and we even have the minimalist groups, those who might focus on reduction.

Up or Down

In our business communities and inside our organizations, we sometimes see challenges with growth and rapid expansion. We might also see interest in driving down costs, eliminating waste, and improving efficiency.

Scaling is a hot word. The buzz question might be, “How are you scaling up?”

We might encounter somewhat of a paradox, yet few connect the dots. Considering all of the scaling, all of the focus on eliminating waste and all of the setting of standards and strictly adhering to them, is there room for a positive culture?

Is it possible to shrink, reduce, and eliminate your way to more? More growth, more sales, and more profit? Does the mindset of reduction create a cultural shift of reduce and stabilize? Is this an act of scaling up or scaling down? Does it create a positive culture or a negative, declining culture?

Positive Culture

Here are three ways you can work towards a positive culture and scale up:

  1. Encourage more. Often there is so much effort spent on reduction and elimination that more of anything feels wrong to employee teams. Change the wording, the symbols, and the traditions that place value on reduction. Make them more about prosperity and growth.
  2. Customer emphasis. Nearly everyone says that they are customer focused but are they? When the focus is reduction, elimination, and high efficiency the best question might be, “How does this impact the customer?” Are prices dropping, value increasing, and are services expanding?
  3. Scale up. Everything needs to stay within budget and profit is always critically important but you likely will not grow when your focus screams shrink. Encourage renewed outreach and get the customer more involved. Connect more and make your story about growth not squeeze.


Certainly, the mind-set of positive thinking is powerful. It isn’t just words or it isn’t necessarily just the opposite of negative thinking. Your culture might use words that seem positive when the exact nature of actions and behaviors are spinning down, not up.

Is your business or organization creating a positive culture?

Scale up.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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job loyalty appreciative strategies

Job Loyalty, Replacement, and Scaling

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Are you loyal? Most people want job loyalty and claim that they deliver but often fear it is not reciprocal. Is everyone at the risk of replacement?

You’ve probably heard it before, “Everyone is replaceable.” Sure, in the right context that is probably true.

Occasionally, I will hear stories of people being replaced by technology or very popular during the past four or five years was the movement of early retirement incentives.

In some regard, these things are rooted in truth. It might be about a numbers game. Improving the bottom line, decreasing expense, and having less business risk, they all seem to make sense.

You have to wonder though, are businesses making the switch for cheaper or for better?

Most businesses intend their decisions to result in making the business better. Some might quickly suggest that businesses will do both, go for cheaper and better.

Replacement or Scaling

The truth might be that the combination of cheaper and better is hard to find, unless the scaling is off. When the scaling is off, businesses will commonly right size.

If you are concerned about your employer being loyal to you, you might need to consider your cost of performance. Is your cost as compared to benefit a good business decision?

You might replace your television with one that is bigger, better, and with more features. Your car might be replaced with one that is better, rust free, and more mechanically sound. A cell phone, the same thing, better with more performance. All of these, unless the scaling is off seem to make sense.

The cost of ownership might change, you might pay less than you did when the technology was first introduced, but truly, you are making a purchase that has more bang for your buck.

Job Loyalty

It is common to see employees pursue continuing education that is not specifically relevant for their job. In addition, it is common to see employees pursue nothing insisting that their experience is worth more. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but it also may not signal job loyalty. (See other thoughts on this.)

Most businesses don’t replace people with cheaper. They replace people according to performance or scale. It is a value proposition.

You’ll replace your television, car, or cell phone, likely based on value and cost of ownership. You want better, or you are right sizing.

It might beg the question, “Are you loyal?”


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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