Originally posted on Seth Buechley’s blog.
What idea or feeling comes to mind when you hear the word growth? Do you sense a twinge of anxiety because you know growth requires change? Or are you energized?
In my years as an entrepreneur and leader I have observed that healthy people and organizations are generally growing. Admittedly, growth may have developed a bad rap in some circles because of the occasional “culture of greed” that over-emphasizes revenue and profits to the detriment of real growth in other important areas. To be clear, revenue and profits are important evidence of doing business the right way and also the way banks keep score. If you don’t sell something more than the vision, it’s hard to make payroll.
For me, what I believe about growth ties directly to what I believe about life and even what I believe about God. Do you believe people change? I believe people can change when they want to change. Experiencing my own growth and seeing those on my teams reach towards their unique potential brings meaning to my work. Some say that art is the way an artist tries to make sense of the world. To the entrepreneur, our work is our art and it energizes us by pulling us towards our potential and helping us find our place in the world.
The idea of growth and progress also reinforces what I believe as an American. We enjoy the freedom to dream big without the fear of our own government or a corrupt dictator or unrestrained criminal elements snatching the fruits of our labor from us without recourse. So far.
I often tell the story of being a young executive during a (brief) period when I had slightly more money than brains. At that time I had a secret epiphany that all of humanity could be divided into two groups – people who wanted to get something done and people who wanted to stay out of trouble. I will let you guess which bucket the brash entrepreneur placed himself in. Today, Virginia Postrel in her book The Future and its Enemies, puts forth an argument that divides people as stasists or dynamists— One is focused on maintaining stability. The other is all about change. The pace of innovation today demands that leaders evolve quickly. Let go of old habits, patterns, and business models or prepare take it on the chin when the new ideas get adopted and leave us in the dust.
Growth is a strange and constant mix of pain and satisfaction but worth the effort. Pain causes us to venture from the safe and familiar into the uncharted waters where anything could happen. Satisfaction comes from experiencing our own progress and knowing we played our part in helping those we lead reach for their unique potential.
What are the best ways you’ve discovered to keep growing ?