Wednesday I posted five steps to satisfying personal growth. I believe that any person that wants to grow professionally and any leader that wants to grow their organization need also to be working on their own personal development first and foremost.
But organizational growth is quite different from personal growth. With personal growth you only have one person to be concerned about: you. With an organization you must be concerned with several others, the number depending on how big your organization is.
While most executives look at organizational growth as the big decisions, it really happens in the small day to day decisions. Growth is a step by step process and it rarely happens over night. Therefore, in order to be committed to organizational growth, the small day to day stuff needs to be analyzed, taken into consideration, and developed to create a growth oriented atmosphere.
In his book Developing the Leaders Around You, John Maxwell gives us ten questions to ask concerning Organizational Growth:
- Has the organization made a specific commitment to grow and develop people?
- Is the organization willing to spend money to develop employees’ growth?
- Is the organization willing to make changes to keep itself and its people growing?
- Does the organization support leaders willing to make the difficult decisions necessary for people’s personal growth and the growth of the organization?
- Does the organization place and emphasis on production rather than position or title?
- Does the organization provide growth opportunities for its people?
- Do organizational leaders have vision and share it with their people?
- Does the organization think big?
- Does the organization promote from within?
- Are there other leaders in the organization willing to pay the price of personal sacrifice to insure their growth and the growth of others?
Is your organization committed to the growth and development of its employees?
If there is no effort on internal employee development and growth, how in the world can a business leader expect the company to grow? Employees are the greatest asset any business has. Without them the product or service you sell won’t get sold. Without them the strategies that make things happen smoothly won’t happen at all. If nobody is given time to grow then the business itself won’t have opportunity to grow. With that said, you can learn a lot about certain employees who are given, yet do not accept, growth opportunities. Keep too many of these employees around and the business won’t grow either.
Does your company spend money to develop it’s employees?
No, salaries don’t count! Growth does cost, but the lack of growth costs even more. You must be willing to invest in your employees’ growth. Let them attend a seminar of their choice once per year, or at the very least go to a yearly seminar together. Encourage them to read and buy the books they need to develop and hone their skills. Honestly, employees have costs too, so if you want to benefit from their own growth, be willing to shell out some bucks for it yourself.
Is your company willing to make changes to keep things growing?
Just because it’s always been done that way is not a valid reason to continue to do it that way. Growth requires change and if you want your people to grow you must be willing to accept the changes that occur as a natural part of that. Some changes won’t be easy, but they will all be for the better.
Do you support leaders that make tough decisions?
Organizational growth will often require some difficult decisions to be made. A company committed to growth needs to be committed to the leaders that make the decisions that cause growth. Not all of those decisions will pan out to be the right ones, but if you come down on the leader that makes a wrong decision for the right reason, they’ll be less willing to try and make the right decision the next time. And that may ultimately be the very decision the company needs to move ahead.
Does your company emphasize production rather than position or title?
Position and title are meaningless if there is no production happening. It doesn’t matter how high or low anybody is on the food chain, the goal of a business is production for profit. If positions matter then that’s all anybody will want. If production matters more then everybody will be satisfied so long as production is good.
Does the organization provide growth opportunities for its people?
If your employees see an opportunity for growth, does that get squashed or encouraged? Are you too afraid of losing man hours to allow for employee growth opportunities? Don’t be. Encourage growth and look for ways to provide additional opportunities that the team may not have found themselves.
Do you share the company’s vision with everyone?
People want to feel good about the company they work for. One of the easiest ways to achieve that is to make sure that the company’s goals and visions are not only made available, but shared with the employees. I have my company’s five year plan posted on the wall. The employees can review that at any time and walk away with a sense of purpose and hopefully delight in what they do and what company they work for.
Does the organization think big?
Most businesses never really reach their potential because the people at the top are not thinking big enough. If you think small, you’ll stay small. If you think big you’ll find a way to grow big.
Does the organization promote from within?
Nobody likes the feeling of being stuck in a dead end job. They want to feel like their role in the company has a purpose and meaning. One of the best ways to provide that is to ensure that the team realizes that they have the opportunity to advance both in professional knowledge, tasks, and position. Always be looking for what interests your team members the most and try to move them into the roles where they are most productive.
Are leaders in your company willing to sacrifice for the growth of the company and others?
True leaders sacrifice. They do it for their families, their companies, and fellow coworkers. If you want to know the true leaders in your organization, find those that sacrifice something for a team member. Building a better company means finding people willing to put their own interests on hold for a time in order to advance the interests of those around them.
Developing a company means much more than just having a plan and going with it. It means having a team that is both willing to grow and given the opportunity to grow. How much you grow your company is determined by how willing you are to do what it takes to make growth happen.