23rd March 2016

Growth is Change

Change isn’t necessarily growth, but growth cannot happen without change. So the first requirement is that those wanting to grow themselves or their business have a positive take on growth and a positive attitude towards it.

Growth is a natural function of imbalance. The disparity between the energy expended to move us forward and natural inertia creates an imbalance which propels us forward. As long as the input of energy is greater than the inertia we will continue to move forward. As this continues momentum will build. Applying the brakes will increase the inertia and eventually overcome the forward momentum.

To grow, then, implies an ability to create forward thrust, a willingness to embrace it and depends upon an ability and a confidence to handle it.  I remember one client understandably fazed by the rapid growth of his business confessing that he was worried that he was in danger of ‘driving faster than his headlights would allow’. As we talked about it he began to realise that he had at least two choices. He could apply the brakes and slow down to a pace that he was more comfortable with, or he could, in his metaphor, upgrade his headlights. This allowed him the chance to evaluate which option was best suited to him and the achievement of his goals.

The irony is that whatever option he chose would involve yet more change on his part. Slowing down would require arresting the natural momentum that he and the business had been able to create. Upgrading the headlights involved developing his and the business’s ability to be able to manage the higher speeds more comfortably. My old Land Rover is more scary at 35 miles an hour than my modern car at two or three times that speed. So it is with businesses and business leaders. They are not all created equal, they do not have the same level of competence and fitness for purpose. The good news is that we can do something, in fact we can do lots of things, to increase our individual and corporate levels of competence and fitness for purpose, as long as we have the will to do so.

Sometimes all we need to do is to increase our competence for the business and ourselves to soar. A little like a hot air balloon. All it needs to float upwards is for someone to cut the ties.

Remember that change doesn’t always mean growth but growth always means change.