“If you are not intentionally preparing for growth, you are unintentionally preparing for decline.” Sobering words from leadership expert Craig Groeschel. In one of his regular podcasts, Craig talks about the enemies of growth every business will face and why growth must be a deliberate strategy. Scroll to the bottom to listen to the podcast.
Here are the four enemies of growth:
Unnecessary complexity. Complexity is the silent killer of growth. The natural evolution of any organisation always moves toward complexity.
Unscalable processes. Picture a three-legged stool. For the stool to grow taller, each of the three legs needs to grow equally or the stool won’t be steady. If one or more elements that drive growth in your organization can’t scale to match your growth, the growth will stall out.
Unhealthy mindsets. Unhealthy mindsets create unhealthy organizations. A few examples of unhealthy mindsets are complacency, pride, risk-aversion, stagnancy, misinformation and misjudging of reality, competition, disinterest, distraction, apathy, greed, and on and on.
Underdeveloped leaders. Underdeveloped or incapable leaders will eventually hold your team or group back from growth, or they’ll be outpaced by the growth around them and be left behind.
Growth creates complexity. Complexity kills growth. To put your business on the path to growth:
One of your top goals as a leader is to kill complexity before complexity kills growth. Remove these two barriers to organizational simplicity:
Unnecessary rules, policies, layers, or meetings. Look for anything that slows the pace or complicates the process. If you don’t know where the slack is, ask your team.
Low value activities or distractions. Any activities that no longer add value or things that cost more energy than they’re worth should be evaluated. Don’t confuse activity with productivity.
To defeat the enemy of unscalable processes, create a defined, reproducible path to growth – a definable growth flow. A definable growth flow identifies the specific drivers that contribute to the growth of your unique team or organization. You may accidentally grow, but you’re never going to scale without identifying your definable growth drivers. If you can’t define it, you can’t accomplish it.
To conquer unhealthy mindsets, cultivate a growth mindset. Two books that talk about this subject are The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth by Chris Zook and James Allen and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. What do we know about mindset? Mindset determines direction. Dweck outlines two kinds of mindsets: a fixed mindset that is unwilling to more or change and a growth mindset that is flexible and adaptable. A growth mindset says, “I can get better” or “I am not good at this…yet.”
Just as individuals have self-esteem – low or healthy – organisations also have an identity called organizational esteem. It’s how we see ourselves as a team or company. If you want to change your organization, change how people think.
The potential of your organization rests on the strength of its leaders. Look around at your team. Are you giving them adequate, important, and necessary feedback? Are you giving them permission to fail? Growth always involves the risk of failure, so we need to give our teams room to fail.
The strategy for defeating the enemy of underdeveloped leaders: don’t just see people as the means to get something done. See getting things done as a tool for developing people. And what happens if people fail? It’s okay. You are not seeking perfection; you are seeking growth.
The Developmental Dip: Any time you trust people as they’re developing, you’ll likely see a short-term dip in quality. It’s expected and it’s worth it as you’re allowing leaders to grow.
If you only focus on one thing, focus on making your leaders great. Great leaders grow great organisations.
This was adapted from the comprehensive podcast notes which you can read here.
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