How to Create a New Path to Business Growth

How to Create a New Path to Business Growth

Ever feel like you’re going in circles? Sometimes the harder you try to achieve something important, the more stuck you get.

Last week I was heading to a meeting at a location that I had been to before, but just to be safe, I used GPS to make sure I could get there using the fastest route.

I followed the GPS instructions carefully–making the turns and traveling on mispronounced roads as directed. My instincts told me I was going in the wrong direction, but I trusted the system.

After being led down an unfamiliar path for too long, I realized I had entered the wrong destination in the app. My fault.

In my conversations with clients and colleagues lately, they’ve expressed frustration about doing a lot, but not making progress. These CEOs, executives and business owners are stuck in activities that keep them going in circles without achieving the results they really want.

Driven leaders are doing something about it. They’re not content to keep going in the same circle.

I enjoy working with them to help them and their organizations disrupt bad patterns, transform cultures and move in new directions.

Here are some ideas about how to begin creating the growth and expansion you really want for yourself and those you lead:

  • Check your destination.Where are you really trying to go? Why? What does it look like? Does everyone see the same picture? Get the clarity you need on the front end.
  • Listen to your instincts. Some leaders doubt their own capabilities. They fear something is missing. Or they think they need someone else to guide them. Of course some decisions require input and buy-in from others, but many can be made on your own. Trust yourself.
  • Course correct. Don’t beat yourself up if something goes wrong or you get off path, even if you’re confused or lost. Adjust. Keep moving.

Growth is a journey with many possible paths…that you get to create!

The pace and path of your growth can change over time.

In business, we’re accustomed to seeing linear views of growth in images like financial charts, bar graphs or the S-Curve.

Another way of looking at growth is the image of a spiral.
Picture yourself in the center. As you grow, the spiral expands.
Think about spiraling out, not down.

As you expand to the outer layers, your perspective changes.
You move yourself to a new level of growth and potential.

Your organization moves in a similar way. It’s either moving in a tight circle by sticking to what it’s done or it’s creating a new growth path through elevated thinking and strategic action.

Each experience (good or bad) teaches you something that connects you to the next layer, but only if you reflect on learning, revisit your vision and open yourself to new possibilities.

As a leader, look for ways to break out of the circle. Challenge your team to do the same.

Take the time you need to create and follow the path you want.

There is as much value, if not more, in slowing down to reflect as there is in driving full speed ahead.

Get your bearings. Learn. Grow. Continue.

PS: If you’d like to learn more about the success we’ve had helping organizations change and grow, please let me know.

If we have not met, I’d be happy to introduce you to WorkMatters’ services.

Are you ready for a challenge?

Are you ready for a challenge?

I recently listened to an interview with a master violinist who described her unusual practice routine. She often practices playing the violin while lying down.

Naturally, it’s more difficult to do that and not a common practice among most musicians, but it helps her perform better when she’s sitting in her normal position.

The same week, I observed a friend working out wearing a 20-pound vest. He likes making the workout more challenging.

The practice of adding weight isn’t new to athletes, like baseball players who use weighted bats to improve their hitting.

These people share something in common: they deliberately challenge themselves to get better results. They make things more difficult (in some cases much more difficult) on purpose.

In my own work, I like to challenge myself in some ways…pushing myself out of my comfort zone to build strength, confidence and new skills. I know that I will risk looking silly whether I’m learning a new athletic skill, playing a new instrument or giving a new presentation.

I’m out of my comfort zone in many conferences and business networking events I attend. But I show up anyway. It’s like exercising a muscle. A little painful and uncomfortable at first, but gets better over time.

The problem I notice in my consulting work with many executives is that they often make things more difficult for themselves without even realizing it.

They are not doing it on purpose.

Some are doing it by default. They simply haven’t considered new ways of dealing with a problem. Or they buy into the idea that leadership has to be hard. “No pain, no gain.”

The key is to know when and why you’re creating a challenge on purpose and when you need to seek an easier path.

The easier path may not be immediately recognizable to you. Try finding it by stepping out of your routine.

It might involve simplifying a process or conducting fewer meetings. Or it might just be trusting your instincts and making a decision without over analyzing.

The most challenging situations in your life and work create the greatest opportunities for growth. They create teaching moments for sure.

But you can also gain significant momentum by following the easy path. Consider what feels like effortless action to you.

Your Leadership Challenge: This week I challenge you to answer these two important questions:

What is one way in which you need to challenge yourself more to grow?

What is something you could make easier for yourself?

Let me know what you identify.