There was a great little article tucked away in the WSJ a few weeks ago. It’s worth summarizing the gist of it and unpacking for a few learning thoughts.

Mozilla (maker of Firefox web browser) had a problem – how to fix bugs in its bug-fixing process.

Symptoms included: tasks were tedious, higher priorities kicked in, tendency to focus on a narrow view of fixing each bug, spinning color wheel on Macs was appearing way too often and finally Mozilla’s competitor Chrome scored much higher on the industry’s scorecard.

Solution involved: Naveed senior engineering manager taking control, advertising that fact, stating two simple goals to staff, involving solving 40 high-priority bugs in six months and coming within 20% of Chrome’s score.

Result: In the timeframe stated 400 high-priority bugs were closed and Mozilla came within 20% of Chrome’s score.

What happened at Mozilla has great potential for your efforts to scale your business. Let’s unpack it.

  1. Employees were given a greater purpose than themselves. They were given a cause worth fighting for. A competitive cause!
  2. They were told this project mattered. It mattered to Naveed. It should matter to you.
  3. The significance of minor bugs was explained. These small bugs added up to a weaker customer experience than was acceptable. Why are you making the customer suffer?
  4. Independent objectivity was brought to the party. Staff couldn’t really argue with industry benchmarks.
  5. The results of achievement were being shared not hidden. Feedback was instant. The bugs were being fixed or they weren’t. The gap on Chrome was closing or it wasn’t. What gets measured gets done.

If you take a step back from your business and consider what’s holding you back. If you define those projects the right way and consider the little lessons from the case study above, I think you will be surprised how your team reacts. Whether at a micro level or a macro level, we find that to be successful at scaling a business, you need to embrace four large principals: Control, Alignment, Predictability and Safety. And perhaps the most important and difficult to achieve is alignment.

TPP is an operational consultancy that scales businesses organically and by acquisition. Every client team consists of one or more partners with successful C-Suite track records. Our biggest added value? We align effort with strategy. Scaling is not the same as sales growth. There’s more to it than that.

Further Reading:

10 Top Tips To Motivate Employees 

Alignment – Secret Sauce of High Growth Businesses