There is almost mystical energy available when companies with great ideas get past the earliest stages of start-up, and a great product begins to take off. Challenges and projects that seemed impossible only a few months before now have the resources and insights to get done. Ridiculous and seemingly impossible deadlines are met. People work as if they are possessed. A small but growing team of aligned, committed individuals do whatever it takes to succeed. Fights are frequent and passions high-still things get done, and enthusiasm is high.

This first phase of scaling is famous for the amount of energy that goes into it, but also the amount of energy it generates. Issac Adizes describes this Phase of Organizational Lifecycles as the “go-go” phase. There are risks here-most commonly and well known is the Founder’s Trap where the entrepreneur, often most interested in perfecting the product, resists the systems, processes, and tools that will allow further scale required for continued growth.

The Founder has been used to communicating with a small team of hands-on co-founders and early hires. Success means market demand and iteration that requires more people, functional reporting, and splitting accountabilities along logical lines.

Communicating strategy and direction becomes more complicated. Onboarding is happening at a pace not seen before. Newly hired employees try to figure out their roles and meet leadership’s expectations the best they can. New talent brings in new tools, but often then is deployed haphazardly within a team or department. Attempts to retain the start-up feeling results in an agile to experimentation without the agile approach to adoption and communication.

After just a few months of trial and error, confusion to reign, finger pointing starts, morale drops, and strategic execution can take a huge hit.

How to find the balance between fresh and “always in start-up” and installing systems, processes, and tools that actually allow large groups of people to work in relative harmony, manage creativity and conflict effectively, learn from mistakes, and most of all make progress to continue to grow.

There is often a reluctance to make these changes, especially the founders and earliest employees who are used to things working in the more casual and “all hands-on deck” way of start-ups. This just doesn’t scale well. Even the millennials, known for their desire to work creatively and outside boundaries, want to clearly understand the strategic direction, the tools, and processes that will make sure their efforts meet with success and know that success will make a difference and be recognized.

The great news is that it’s possible to preserve the best of the start-up culture while gaining momentum in delivery. It requires executive commitment and organization-wide discipline.

Here’s what we’ve learned about cracking the code on strategic execution.

Create a Safe Environment for conflict, challenge, and radical honesty. As Daniel Coyle says in The Culture Code, building safety is the first and most critical step in creating highly successful groups. Culture is the heartbeat of your organization. A great culture requires intentionality, safety in communication, and a clear standard for “how we do things around here.”

Define the Values, and clarify the actions that demonstrate those values in action. Give every leader a clear understanding of their role in guiding behavior and decisions. Tell stories about how the values are showing up and building success. Reward based on values-based decisions-and accountable if anyone acts outside the values.

Simplify and Communicate Your Strategy. A great blueprint for strategy should be no more than one or two pages, clearly organized so that every employee can “get it.” It takes a lot of work-thinking, discussing, assessing risk and aligning-for the top leaders to get this plan completed. It is a terrible waste if it is too ambiguous or complicated to implement. It is doing the work and having the conversations about what these “big ideas” mean in action that allows a true strategy to evolve.

Clarify Roles and Accountability. Step up to being accountable and helping others do the same. Ambiguity in roles and responsibilities can flourish rapidly in fast growth companies. Accountability and clear roles manage risk, makes employees feel confident of their boundary conditions and allows productivity to flourish. The kind of accountability we’re taking about says “no one is a victim here” and engages ownership or what each person can fix in any situation. This kind of accountability is not optional.

Develop a Clear Approach to Processes. All companies have functions that are core to getting the work done and processes that support the functions. Many if not most processes are cross-functional and critical to the company and team collaboration. Clearly articulate the core processes, assign an owner, and create regular workshops to map, assess, and improve them. Learn it, and then “lean-it” by making each process as efficient as possible while not hampering the other core processes.

Create Common Language and Common Tools. Develop tools that help everyone understand and know how to engage with each other. We help the companies we work with create a “tool kit” of the processes and tools for everything from safety in communication to Backcasting, KPIs, and decision-making. The toolkit becomes a critical part of your ability to rapidly onboard and continue to scale. The more it is documented and accessible to all, the easier it is to gain alignment and continue to improve it.

Measure and Learn. The best strategic execution happens in a “learning-forward” environment. There is always tension between clarity of plan and remaining agile. That tension is where great creativity also lives. Your strategy is a living document.

Appreciate and Celebrate! Something that is often lost as companies scale is the ability to express your appreciation to team members and celebrate success. Create a regular cadence for company-wide acknowledgment and celebration to keep that spirit of success alive. Foot the bill and make celebrating success a part of the culture. And keep it real. Celebrate genuine success and don’t be afraid to talk about the milestones you missed and why, what you learned, and what the company will do differently next time.

These are the critical steps. They are not complicated. And they are not easy. Each element will take time, mental energy, emotional intelligence, and discipline. If you are more interested in strategic execution than in talking about strategy, though, it will be completely worth it.