I think the facilitation was effective and allowed all of us to participate. The continuity the coaches brought from the last meeting was very valuable too.

Data Analytics Tech Startup, San Francisco, CA

Multi-Office Scaleups: Where to Hire What Function?

Multi-Office Scaleups: Where to Hire What Function?

Distributing or Centralizing Teams

Multi-office scaleups struggle to organize their teams efficiently. Once your scaleup has several offices, how do you organize your teams? Should each function have representatives in each location? Or should certain functions remain centralized in headquarters? And if so, which?

Many scaleups struggle with these decisions as they grow. This is why I have developed a one-page tool to plan resources across different locations. You can download below if your scaleup is struggling with the same issue.

Multi-office Scaleups Rule #1: accept the trade-off

The first thing to understand: centralized and decentralized models are a trade-off

Decentralization means you can fulfill customer desires better, but at a higher cost. It values effectiveness over efficiency.

The more you centralize resources, the more you optimize for economies of scale

Centralization means you combine forces, but your customers get a more generic experience. It values efficiency over effectiveness.

The best scaleups thrive because they reconcile this dilemma. They reach both effectiveness and efficiency.

This is why the team allocation to different locations is such a difficult choice to make. You are facing a trade-off, even though you need to serve both sides of that trade-off.

Multi-office Scaleups Rule #2: purpose by location

Providing clear purposes before creating the hiring plan will help avoid much tension. It also sets clear expectations how much of a career path people can expect in a certain location.

Multi-office Scaleups Rule #3: differentiate by function

What is the key to reconciling efficiency with effectiveness? It is to make different decisions for each function or department.

Some departments should be completely local, others should be completely central. Many end up in-between: skewing local (key locations) or skewing central (critical mass).

Differentiating by function sets up the healthy tension that makes a scaleup successful. Local functions can take tactical decisions in their area without resorting to headquarters. Central functions gain buy-in for strategic decisions by creating momentum among local functions.

The key is to determine which functions to centralize and which to decentralize. This is what our one-page tool can help with.

Multi-office Scaleups Rule #4: the success model

Each function has a “success model”: key deliverables and key success factors contributing. For example

A function’s success factors determine if decentralization or centralization makes most sense. For example

You may download the multi-office plan worksheet below.

Multi-office Plan: Balancing Local Responsiveness with Critical Mass

well designed and planned. Clear on process and what we were doing at each point. good interaction facilitated amongst virtual and live participants

Sam Halverson, SVP, People and Culture, NZXT, Santa Monica, CA