Ready, Set, Grow!

Let’s Grow!
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to focus on GROWTH!  I’m ready to be proactive about the changes I want to make in my life and my business, rather than just reactive. Yes, change is constant. If any of us is still in denial of that fact, then we have more than just our head in the sand. We need to have our head in a “growth mindset.”

Are we always going to be 100% ready for any possible change that could present itself, from new technology and new competition all the way to a meteor potentially hitting the earth? No. That’s just madness. Madness, I tell you! What we can do is continuously grow and develop to help us prepare for change, rather than ignore the signs, and hope change will just go away. –It’s a myth that ostriches bury their head in the sand to avoid what they don’t want to face. Only people do that. 

Growth Takes Time
Leaders have the herculean task of preparing teams and entire organizations for change. To do that, we must continuously challenge people to grow. Here’s the tricky part, or at least the “even trickier” part of all this: People (that’s us) don’t tend to grow and change overnight. At least not until life imitates The Matrix movie, and we can eventually upload knowledge and skills directly into our brain. (At which point, I am so learning how to fly a helicopter!)  Until then, growth mindset and development take time.

You may be thinking, “That’s great, but who has that kind of time?” How do we carve out time to prepare for tomorrow when we have too much work today? It’s a serious challenge. There’s a huge pull to react to whatever is urgently demanding our time and attention. But constant reaction is a trap. If we’re not investing in the growth mindset of our leaders, our teams, and even ourselves, then by the time change urgently demands something new, we won’t be ready; but someone else will be. At that point, having too much work and not enough time will no longer be an issue, because we will become obsolete, and there will be no more work left for those of us who fail to grow.

Growth: Nimble vs. Big
Netflix v. Blockbuster is a classic example of this reality come to life (Forbes). A small, nimble Netflix topples the strong, giant Blockbuster. A key moral to the story: Netflix did not win the battle in spite of Blockbuster’s strengths, but precisely because Blockbuster refused to let go of what had previously made it so successful.

Blockbuster leaders continued to react to new challenges by doing the same things in the same ways, assuming the world had not changed. They fortified the walls around their comfort zone. Rather than keeping them safe, it kept them trapped, and eventually they became obsolete.

None of us has a crystal ball to know exactly where the next challenge will come from or who will triumph. What is very much in our power to control is our readiness to embrace change by investing in our continuous growth and development.

Step-by-Step Growth Mindset
So, are we all onboard with the need for growth? –I’m assuming, “Yes,” or you would have stopped reading by now. The next question is, “How do we do that?” How do we inspire, challenge, and support ongoing growth?

Growth is far from a cookie cutter path, but whether we’re developing leaders or recent college grads, there are some fundamental steps to the growth process. Understanding these steps will help us tailor our growth paths and make it easier to weave development into the time we have, for ourselves and for the people we lead.

This path is one model for growth. If you prefer a different model, great! Use what works for you. The goal is not to find the perfect model, but to demystify growth, and break down the process into manageable, actionable steps to help us achieve our goals. Over the next several months, I invite you to explore your growth mindset with me, and take a closer look at each of these steps.

Mindset: Get Ready to Grow!
Before we embark on this journey, there’s something you should know. The growth path I’ve outlined is very simple, and it’s supposed to be simple. Simplicity makes a model easy to understand and use. Growth, however, is not always so straightforward. In fact, growth and change are often downright messy.

Sometimes the growth process can be confusing, frustrating, and even discouraging. Other times we may fall off the growth path completely. When this happens, there’s one very important thing to know: It’s normal. It’s all part of growth. So, when we hit the messy bits, rather than thinking, “Oh no! I must be doing something wrong. I should stop,” we can say, “Oh! So, this is what the messy part feels like…Good to know! Let’s keep going.”

So, what do you say? Are you ready to explore growth? Then, let’s do this!