Article from the Jasper Journal 2nd Quarter 2019
Written by: Brent Jasper
Most Gen Xers remember the sitcom “Growing Pains” from their childhood in the 80’s and 90’s. The show followed the Seaver family and highlighted issues most American families dealt with from adolescence through the teenage years. As the Seaver kids grew up, they and their friends faced all kinds of coming-of-age problems in relationships, peer pressure, loss, and other issues. These seemed like the end of the world to budding kids just learning how to navigate life.
Much like the Seaver family, Jasper Ventures has experienced its share of growing pains over the last three years. When we restructured from EPC to Jasper Ventures in 2016, it was like we started over in our adolescence as a company. If not for the solid foundation that was laid by our founder Jon Jasper, through resources, reputation, and values, we would have had a difficult time surviving. As we reverted to an adolescent company, we began experiencing the issues and challenges of finding our way in an ever-changing world and in an industry that has experienced its share of changes in recent years.
Three of the big issues that we have encountered at Jasper Ventures have been physical space, partners, and scaling.
Senior management has constantly been trying to figure out how we are going to find space for all the new hires. Through March 2019, we have experienced a 500% increase in employees in the two-and-a-half years since we became Jasper Ventures. Everyone in the company has felt the strain of physical capacity, and we continue to move people around and expand our facilities. This is also true for many of our clients who are seeing similar growth.
It has been challenging for some of our business partners to maintain growth at similar rates; others have been unable to handle our new complexities. Unfortunately, we have had to part ways with a few partners, while others have continued to grow steadily alongside us.
One of our greatest challenges has been scaling. Meaning, throwing more people at the additional work that we have taken on does not necessarily mean that we can handle the work in the same way. We are currently experiencing a great need for additional expertise so we can improve processes and procedures. The old days of everyone tracking his or her individual portions of the project have passed. It’s time to find a global solution that pulls all the pieces together and puts everyone on the same page.
In a recent all-managers meeting, I mentioned that we are growing in more ways than numbers through the various trials that we are experiencing. We are learning and growing in our jobs. Employees are working together in new ways and finding solutions to challenging problems. Some have become frustrated with one another, maybe at management or perhaps with the process, because people are going to bump into each other when spaces get crowded.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” What happens when a steel blade is sharpened? There is friction. Flecks of metal fall. Sparks fly. Yet in this messy process, the blade becomes sharp – almost like new – and can do the job better than it did before. My hope for Jasper Ventures is that we are sharpening one another in every aspect – through our work, knowledge, relationships with each other, and spiritually.
Just like the Seaver kids, we have experienced our share of problems. And it may feel like the end of the world when we are in the moment. We get to decide how we respond. These are the occasions that will define us and be the glue that holds us together in the future. Through the growing pains that we experience today, we will emerge more cohesive and stronger than before.
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