In 2019, staffing industry veteran Dan Campbell mentioned to me a possible leadership opportunity at the company that he co-founded, Hire Dynamics, which had high growth aspirations.  I was no stranger to leading a company through accelerated growth. For the previous 22 years, I had been with one of the largest convenience store chains in the country. During my final six years there, when I was COO and then president, we doubled in size — all organically. I jumped at the chance to become part of a staffing company’s growth story.

In our first two years, we doubled in size through aggressive organic growth and three acquisitions. What I’m most proud of, though, is that we were able to enhance our culture during that time, enable multiple career growth opportunities and become much more connected and united as “One HD.” Now, as a part of EmployBridge, we look forward to continuing that trajectory while enriching the journeys of our colleagues through cultural enhancement.

But one of the most difficult things in leading a company is balancing two seemingly disparate objectives: enabling aggressive growth and enhancing the culture. The notion of growing aggressively can often work in stark contrast to enhancing a culture if you’re not very deliberate and considerate in all of your actions as a leader. Here are a few of the principles that I found effective — for a gas station company and a staffing company alike.

Clear vision. Be clear about your vision for the company. “In two years, we’ll look like…” what exactly? Cover it all — geography, revenue, tech enablement, new roles for every aspect of your business. Then work backward from there, first by year, then by quarter.

My bet is that you’ll be stunned at how misaligned the expectations of the leaders of your company will be and even more disjointed as you go deeper within your leadership levels.

Strategic plan. Create a strategic plan, but ensure it’s easy to understand and, most importantly, that the actions of every single person in the company can be quantified to drive that strategy every single day. In other words, marry the daily tactics with what drives the longer-term strategy. Track employee metrics relentlessly, with multiple checkpoints to ensure continued alignment with the longer-term vision. Most companies don’t do this effectively.

Career opportunities. Be clear about career path opportunities created by the company’s growth. As you grow, the paths increase and options will grow for those who want them. Be very deliberate in showing those options to your leaders so they can see the possibilities for their careers.

Transparent communications. Obviously, some information is confidential, but most isn’t as sensitive as we think. You’ll be astonished by the environment that will be created with transparent communication. Change can be quick, uncomfortable and sometimes painful, especially to those not in the strategic decision-making process. By being transparent, you can eliminate the “victim mentality” that is created when people don’t see the train coming at them.

Purpose. Succinctly define your company’s purpose. Be clear about your company’s impact on others and the communities you serve. In a frenzied growth environment, you often must ask your teams to pause and remember why we do what we do. Our industry is one of the more noble, and it’s not far-fetched to say our daily work has the potential to change people’s lives.

Visibility. Make certain leadership is visible in all forms and foster a companywide attitude of being all in on your growth and culture journey together. Over-communicate with the entire team, and then over-communicate again — constant, clear communication embedded with pertinent information. Also, ask for feedback, and most importantly, show action on their feedback, even if the answer isn’t what they want to hear. They will know you’re listening. Growing a company can be challenging, but even better, it can be massively rewarding. There isn’t anything like seeing the power and impact of your culture on full display when you have it rolling — with trust, clarity of success, effective communication and the career growth opportunities for your leaders.