Secret To Growth
Businesses either grow or die. I saw this fascinating statistic on the internet (aei.org) the other day: only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 were still a Fortune 500 company in 2015. What happened? Simply put, they didn’t grow. The economy, product demand, business practices, technology, consumer buying practices, these all evolved, but the company didn’t. In short, the companies didn’t grow or didn’t grow fast enough to survive. Whether you run a fortune 500 company, work for yourself, or work for someone else…it doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or an intern… growth is the key to success.
Personal Growth = Company Growth
Let’s talk about people. I’m sure you know this, but it never hurts to be reminded from time to time. Artificial Intelligence and process automation can improve productivity, efficiency, and quality. But they cannot replace people. Without people to do the work, the work cannot get done. When you think about it, this becomes obvious. Without people there is no company. Nothing would be produced, no services will be provided, and the company cannot exist. Now, when everyone in the company is growing as individuals, the company grows. And in that case, the company will grow fast! If everyone maintains the status quo, well, so does the company. Here is the thing, if you keep the status quo, and your competition continues to grow, soon you’ll stop being relevant. If your people don’t grow at the same pace as everyone else’s, your company will eventually become obsolete.
Leadership is a crucial component to growth. In my opinion leadership is the master key of success. Keep in mind, leadership can come from anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from a person in a management or supervisory capacity. People in those roles should demonstrate leadership skills, of course, but a title doesn’t make a leader. A leader is someone that inspires others to take action. By that definition, anyone can be a leader. A new hire on their first day, can inspire someone to take action. It’s likely when the new person shows up, someone is there to greet them, show them around, and introduce them to colleagues, etc. That is one example.
Leadership teams (managers and executives) are primarily responsible for the growth of a company. They should be continuously developing their teams, making each individual stronger and better than they were. They should be challenging team members to push themselves outside their comfort zones towards strategic goals. They must encourage people to struggle, while not allowing them to fail. It’s when people are outside their comfort zone that they learn and grow. When teams grow, people grow and your business grows. Grow Leaders. Everyone wins.
Your Growth Investment
Too many times, I have heard a story about a competent worker getting laid off because their job was no longer necessary. Why did this happen? Well, the job was no longer needed, AND the person filling that job hadn’t grown beyond that role. Everyone, even the rank and file worker, has a responsibility for their own growth. Many times, people fail to invest their own time or money into growth. “If it was important for the company they’d pay for it.” is usually the line I hear. The truth is, your career is YOUR responsibility. To protect your job security, to protect your future, you need to invest your time, and possibly your resources, towards growth. That might sound harsh, but in the end, you’ll be more valuable and you’ll benefit from it the most. This I promise.
This Week’s Challenge
Understand your responsibility for growth. The guy in the mailroom, and the guy in the boardroom, are all responsible for growth. What are you doing to ensure the people in your company are growing? What are you doing to make sure the people on your team are growing? What are you doing to be confident that you are growing? If you aren’t doing enough, prepare to be obsolete. You’re either doing one or the other…
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Quote of the Week
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, and success, have no meaning.”
– Benjamin Franklin