What’s Growth?

In the last couple of months I've attended multiple Peer Groups, business meetings, and seminars. With these terrific experiences comes the opportunity to have powerful conversations with highly intelligent business owners, managers and front-line team members. From these interactions we're able to learn a great deal about other people's perspectives as well as explore, understand, and challenge our own.

Many companies have experienced some top-line sales pullbacks, while others have been enjoying tremendous growth despite the current economic environment. I know that the bulk of companies in our industry have had more challenges than celebrations in recent months. This can be both good and/or bad, but it all depends on how you view the situation, what responsibility you take for it, and the actions and systems you implement because of it. Some of the companies that are currently having "better" than average months are doing so because of changes they implemented several months ago.

"Better" months in the future are created by decisions and actions you're taking today, regardless of last month's results. Thriving companies make powerful and sometimes "difficult" daily decisions in order to improve themselves and their organizations. We often think that positive outcomes are only created based on the weather or having a few big, profitable jobs. This can be true short-term, and we all love the perfect dispatch board, but ultimately success is ALWAYS the product of focused leadership.

As a leader, you must constantly challenge yourself and your perspective regarding what future growth means to you. What does your vision and mission look like? Do you need to revise your business plan because you have developed different goals or plans for your life? Are you still making business decisions based on a climate that is no longer your current reality? Let me be clear: I'm not advocating changing your goals every time you experience resistance, but I see many owners and top leaders get stuck in a mindset that no longer serves themselves or the organization.

If you've been in business or a leadership position for any period of time, you can probably identify some actions that could be taken in order to move your company forward. However, a clearly defined growth strategy determines what actions you'll be willing to take in order to achieve your objectives. Challenge yourself today. Ask some pointed questions. What does growth mean to you? Why aren't you taking some massive actions in areas that you know deep down you could be?

We owe it to ourselves, our families, and our teams to continue to "grow" as leaders. As you are thinking about growth, consider two words that are included in every textbook definition:gradual increase. Effective growth is created by gradual increases. This concept is often ignored, yet crucial for efficient growth planning, regardless of the platform.

As you work through the growth process, remember that the success or failure you are feeling today has to do with actions you took weeks, months, and years ago. Growth is a process, my friends. I'm not enjoying the economic downturn any more than the next person, but I'm choosing to learn everything I can about myself, my team, and my clients in the process. I know that how I respond today may not show up in tangible results for many days to come, but this is the power of gradual increase. You are either moving closer to what you truly desire, or further away…gradually.