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It’s widely known that Sequoia has an envious track record of investing in companies which scale. What’s less widely known is how Sequoia achieves these results. In our view, one important factor is their approach to ‘Company Design’.

In this piece we explore what Company Design is and how the approach can help you take the pain out of scaling your organisation.

What is Company Design?

Sequoia refers to the founders’ journey as ‘The Climb’. A metaphor in which founders are focused on summiting to the peak of the market they have chosen to dominate. The path to the summit is not an easy one. The path can be steep and winding, with ravines and cliffs along the way. Sometimes founders will take the wrong turn and have to double back.

Quote from Sequoia’s page on Company Design:

“Company Design is learning from the lessons, mistakes and successes of the past.”

Company Design is the notion that the experience of past generations of founders can provide a compass, map and guidebook to help you reach your summit. It’s the idea that understanding these learnings, these proven best practice solutions to common challenges, can help you avoid taking the wrong turn. Getting the right advice at the right point can help you achieve success faster, with less pain.

How is this related to scaling an organisation?

Scaling an organisation is hard. Leaders encounter challenges that they may not have faced before, while dealing with many other competing priorities. Challenges are numerous, time-consuming and complex to resolve. They include:

  • Balancing adding processes versus maintaining agility
  • Determining the right role for HQ as you expand to more countries
  • Ensuring you have the right executive team composition and size
  • Prioritising product and technology focus as customer segments become increasingly diverse

Getting organisational scaling wrong can be costly. It wastes leadership time, diverting attention from other critical matters. It impacts delivery, meaning strategic objectives are not met. It reduces runway, creating a pressure to fundraise earlier.

Yet scaling challenges are not unique. Others have faced the challenges you face, and have found solutions. You can apply the principle of Company Design to organisational scaling. You can learn from the experience of others. You can achieve success faster and more efficiently.

Develop the guidebook to scale your organisation

360Leaders is an organisational strategy firm which has supported some of the world’s leading high growth firms in scaling their organisations. We have seen what works, and what doesn’t. Underpinned by the lessons of the past and proven solutions, we have built a data platform which can provide you with the guidebook to scale your organisation.

The platform draws data from an employee survey, HR records and thecompany’s strategic objectives. An organisational assessment identifies and anticipates organisational challenges, prioritises areas to address and shares proven best practice solutions.

Want to get the guidebook to take the pain out of scaling your organisation? Talk to one of our organisational strategy experts.