Problems associated with growth are good problems for a business to have, but for Greg Dubecky and Corporate Screening Services Inc., that doesn’t mean those problems are any less critical. After CSS grew its team by nearly 50 percent from 2004 to 2005 and then again by a third the following year, Dubecky, the company’s general manager, realized that even the more trivial difficulties required attention.
“There were a myriad of problems as simple as, ‘What are we going to do about parking?’ Dubecky says. “These were things you would never think about. ‘Where are we going to put everybody? We’ve got to buy phones? We don’t have any place to park these people.’”
Founded in 1995 as a spin-off of Corporate Investigative Services, a company that specialized in workers’ compensation and insurance fraud investigations, CSS found a niche within the burgeoning corporate screening industry.
“You spend all this time trying to figure out which products you have meet market acceptance,” Dubecky says. “Which one of these things is beneficial? Which one of these things offers value to the end user? We started to look at screening pretty seriously.”
By 2003, after CSS had moved out of what Dubecky describes as survival mode and had outgrown its informal leadership structure, the company’s principals began putting processes into place in anticipation of further growth. Though it was difficult in a rapidly growing industry, they began forecasting where they wanted to be three and five years into the future, and then took steps to build a scalable infrastructure to support the growth they foresaw.
Dubecky says that creating scalability helps a growing company retain some of the agility characteristic of smaller companies.
“Being scalable helps you out because it gives you peace of mind,” Dubecky says. “When you know that you have systems and policies and procedures in place that are scalable, you can make those changes and you know that, that structure that you have in place is going to accommodate that.”
In making the transition into a more formal leadership philosophy, Dubecky and the other principals of CSS placed greater emphasis on forecasting, planning and strategizing to sustain growth rather than on day-to-day operations. Though it is a difficult shift for many leaders, Dubecky says having the ability and wherewithal to delegate is vital to continued growth.
“The most difficult part for us in that shift process was considering the fact that we couldn’t any longer work in the company, we had to work on the company,” Dubecky says. “We always liked the day-to-day operations, but we realized we weren’t going to be able to sustain our growth unless we really concentrated on the company.”
As part of his new responsibilities in the more formal leadership structure, Dubecky found that conveying the company’s mission and values became a much more challenging task given the growth in the CSS staff.
“Everybody is moving at warp speed,” Dubecky says. “All of a sudden you don’t have just 15 or 20 people; you have 70 people that you have to communicate what your mission is. You’ve got to get everybody on the same page, and that becomes an arduous thing to do.”
In successfully managing rapid growth, Dubecky says that a leader should never hesitate to seek guidance, something CSS did to help it cope with growth.
“We hired a human resource professional to come in and help us out,” Dubecky said. We were able to really help to establish a culture, get people on board with the mission and keep people happy and motivated.”
HOW TO REACH: Corporate Screening Services Inc., (440) 816-0500 or www.corporatescreening.com
Customers come first
While Corporate Screening Services Inc. was growing, General Manager Greg Dubecky stressed above all else that customer relationships must be maintained. Here is what Dubecky says about preserving that bond.
“You can’t grow unless you have a sound foundation. You need to figure out what a sound foundation is. A sound foundation for us is, first and foremost, our relationship with our customers. Without existing customers, you can’t build. If you have customer attrition, you’re going to be spinning your wheels.”
“Your customers know when you’re experiencing some pains. They identify immediately whether or not you’re having some problems, and they’ll be the first to tell you. We were not ashamed to tell them, ‘Yeah, we are experiencing some growing problems. These are good problems to have. We hope that you want to align yourself with an organization that’s successful. CSS is successful, but we have some new challenges.’”
“Profits and money come secondary to us. It’s about making the customer happy. Those are the things that help us sleep at night. At our organization, we’re not afraid to put our folks in front of the customer. Our front-line people speak to our customers on a daily basis. We encourage that, and we want to make sure of that, because they’re projecting that same image.”