Growth should be one of your number one priorities as a leader (both personally and for your organization.) There are several ways that we can initiate personal growth on our own, but the reality is that the right growth environment makes all the difference in the world. As Leadership expert John Maxwell once said, “Most people live and die in a non-growth environment.” I want to work with motivated people, and the right environment attracts the right people.
I love how God reveals truth through creation. When I think of growth, I naturally think of plants. Most plants require soil, and even those that don’t require the elements that soil provides, such as nourishment, room to grow, and resistance. A healthy organization is no different. In order to create a growth environment, you need to build those elements into your area of leadership.
The Bible shows us that the best leaders are servant-hearted. As business leaders, we should do our best to serve our employees and coworkers by providing learning opportunities and resources. My WealthBuilders office in Denver travels with me to most of the conferences I speak at, and they run the ones that I host. They get to soak up teachings as a part of their work environment. I am accessible to them if they ever have questions about business, real estate, or life. And, I am open to requests if they want to purchase books or training programs that will enhance their knowledge. In the end, that knowledge makes them more valuable to the company. You don’t bring time to the marketplace, you bring value. So, a growth environment provides opportunities for people to increase their value.
2. Room to Grow
If you don’t provide room to advance in your company, smart employees won’t stick around very long. Or, you’ll attract flaky employees. Think about it—the right environment attracts the right people. So, growth-minded individuals will not be attracted to a company that doesn’t give them space to grow.
A tree grows taller when its roots go deeper. Providing room to grow in an organization means giving your staff opportunities to develop roots in the company. Encourage them to take ownership of the company’s success by providing the space for them to give feedback, share suggestions, and develop creative ideas. People want to be involved. They want to use their God-given gifts, abilities, and experiences. In addition, have a system in place for advancement and promotion. When people serve your company, you want to be able to thank them with more opportunity and responsibility.
This might be the most difficult element of a growth environment to enforce. The question you must ask yourself is “Do I love the people in my business enough to actually help them?” The continual pressure of the soil on a seed provides resistance. Like lifting weights, this pressure helps the seed develop enough strength to break through the soil. Without resistance, the plant wouldn’t be able to withstand things like heat, wind, and bugs. In other words, it wouldn’t make it through the next stage of life.
I like to ‘poke the bear’ before I hire people. That simply means that I give them a little resistance by asking them challenging questions. Sometimes you have to be transactional with people before you can be transformational. I also have boundaries, or barriers to entry, in place to see if people are serious. When I was the pastor of a small church, I would have several people ask to go to lunch with me after service on Sunday. I would respond, “I would love to go to lunch with you, but I won’t go on Sunday. If you pick any other time during the week, we can go.” I was shocked that more than half of the people never took me up on my offer. Most people want convenience, so a little resistance will show you who is actually serious.
Resistance helps your team grow so that they’re equipped for bigger and better things once they leave you. The goal is to train employees so that they end up surpassing you one day.