Our Growth Principles
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Elements of Growth
How do we understand and create a Growth Culture? Just as the atmosphere in which we live consists of various particles, the organizational atmosphere can be broken down into many elements. It is determined by the thoughts, feelings, values, needs and fears of all of its members.
To help develop an organizational culture that prioritizes learning and excellence, we work on 5 aspects of growth: meaning, emotion, intellect, intuition and contentment. While by no means complete, we find that focus on these elements helps organizations, teams and individuals make major strides in a short time. We call them the 5Qs.
● A sense of shared purpose and feeling of contributing to something larger than oneself is one of the greatest sources of energy for organizations and individuals ●
● How productively do people manage their emotions? How much time is spent managing each other's emotional responses? Finding how each team member can become more self-responsible about managing their own reactivity is key to developing high trust organizations where learning and excellence flow easily ●
● How clear are objectives, responsibilities, and people's roles in fulfilling them? Do team members have the skills required to be effective? Consciously defining, nurturing and deploying abilities and talents helps an organization thrive ●
● How much are people sensing what is emerging and capitalizing on new ideas in a timely manner? To what extent are people willing to take risks, think outside of their comfort zone and trust their gut? Questioning internal and habitual thinking and reflecting on the big questions facing an organization stimulates the generation of new ideas and clarifies when it's time to let go of old ones ●
● How much time is spent worrying about the end result before it arrives? How much do people realize that everything is for growth? How much are people able to translate this knowing into contentment, confidence and steadfastness under any and all circumstances? Discovering confidence and contentment can be the fruition of commitment to growth ●
Consider these five elements in your own organization.
How would you rate them on a scale from one to ten in yourself and in your team?
Where do you see opportunities for growth in yourself, individual team members, and the larger organization?
These are the questions asked at the beginning of a Growth Journey. The answers lead to design of our work together.
The 5Qs were developed together with
Depending on your role and objectives, there are various ways in which we can work on Growth together.
We work with leaders who seek to advance themselves and their organizations toward the next level of excellence. This journey spans 6-18 months and typically consists of various modalities, for example: transformation workshops, team-building events, online learning, one-on-one coaching and large-scale conferences. Depending on your interest, the next level of excellence can include: creating, modernizing or exiting a business or business model; creating, maintaining or transforming a culture; and/or creating a high performing team ●
We help develop leaders who wish to become facilitators and coaches within their organizations. Within an intensive 6-9 month journey, leaders first go on a journey of self-mastery, continued by learning how to coach one-on-one, concluding in trainings about how to facilitate transformation journeys for their teams. Depending on the client need, we customize our design. For example, at Columbia Business School, we facilitate day-long introductory "Leader as Coach" programs for mid-career leaders ●
We also coach individual leaders aspiring to master themselves. They recognize that the greatest power in any organization lies in accessing the highest energy of the people in it, and that deep inner work is required to inspire their teams in this way. This type of coaching journey typically requires 6-12 months to complete ●
Periodically, Constancee hosts leadership conferences and on-line learning programs dedicated to fostering a Growth Culture in all types of organizations. During these programs, we explore the fundamentals of creating a Growth Culture in our organizations and take our individual journeys towards self-mastery above and beyond ●
We are also asked to deliver keynotes live or via webcast. Topics we have spoken about include: Leader as Coach, Authentic Leadership, Transformation, Growth Culture and Culture Evolution ●
Stages in the journey
To create a sustainable Growth Culture, we guide individuals, teams and organizations through a journey. A typical journey includes the following stages:
What is most important for you to achieve? ●
How does the current culture accelerate and hinder you reaching your objectives? How skilled are you today in creating a Growth Culture? ●
What stages, stakeholders and milestones are most beneficial to create a sustainable Growth Culture? ●
How do we learn to create a sustainable Growth Culture... ●
a) ... Within ourselves?
b) ... For our team?
c) ... Across the organization?
d) ... Outside the organization?
Why did we embark in the first place? Where to and what for? Starting with a 'why' can be instrumental for the design of the ongoing journey. What can we learn from our travels? What has been the business impact of the new atmosphere? How to sustain the Growth Culture over time, in changing market and organizational conditions, and with new team members? ●
The difference that makes a difference
In our years of work, we have identified four key factors that consistently distinguish Growth Journeys of highest impact.
Tom, the General Manager in a Fortune 50 Technology Company, said it best: "How can I expect my people to transform if I am not willing to go first?" People look at their leaders to set the standard for the level of learning that is expected to be successful, and to prioritize the amount of time and energy that needs to be devoted to personal growth. Of course there are many people who are self-motivated to grow, yet in any organization, people face many competing demands. When growth is a priority, it infuses everything else, creating a high-impact Growth Culture. Leaders set the tone for the entire organization and create a tipping point for the whole system to change with their energy and focus on learning and growth. They model a Growth Culture in their organizations by taking their own journey of self-mastery and sharing openly and candidly with employees their progress and challenges. As the authors of "Growth Champions" conclude, "Passionate leadership really matters, even in a mature business. A leader who is prepared to challenge conventional wisdoms, internally and externally, and put an aspirational stake in the ground gives the organization focus." ●
A Growth Journey is not for the faint-hearted. It requires stepping out of the comfort zone of habitual thought patterns and behaviors. Neuroscience research shows that much of human behavior is rooted in the most basic survival fears and instincts, and that higher processes must evolve to override these lower motivations to stay safe and secure. For an individual, team or organization to grow, it needs a reason to, unless it already has developed a deep intrinsic desire to grow for growth's sake.
Leaders of the R&D division of a major pharmaceutical company were more than willing to rapidly evolve themselves and their organization's culture to accelerate the delivery of safe and effective medicines for patients with unaddressed medical needs.
Inspired by Google, the leaders of a Silicon Valley start-up recognized that creating a growth culture, starting with their own team, was a make-or-break factor in their company's ability to become a thriving business.
Both cases demonstrate that leaders who commit to personal and business growth as one and the same journey create importance and urgency for people to evolve themselves. They understand that they serve the business through their personal growth and that business growth in turn provides ongoing impetus and fuel for individual transformation. ●
How the journey unfolds depends greatly on one's openness and willingness to be guided. We think of someone we worked with several years ago named Stephanie. In our first meeting, she shared how she found it challenging, as an HR-leader, to have a voice in business discussions with the leadership team. When we talked about her internal programs that may have caused self-doubt, fear and judgment, her eyes lit up. She became fascinated with this inner exploration and how her self-doubt hindered her success. In between our meetings, she practiced diligently. She shared how she began to notice the self-doubt and practiced breathing in response to these anxieties. As she progressed on the journey, she was able to detach from the immediate emotional reactions and examine objectively when her fears told her "No!" Moreover, she was diligent in making sure she committed to next steps at the end of every meeting. Going into the work with an attitude of learning made her journey exciting and her progress rapid, and inspired others on her team to commit to their own growth as they saw such obvious changes in her work. ●
Malcom Gladwell states in his book "Outliers" that it takes 10,000 hours to gain true mastery at the level of Mozart, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Creating a Growth Culture that continuously fuels excellence, innovation, trust and individual fulfillment requires ongoing practice. We know from neuroscience research that the brain actually creates new connections that become natural response patterns as we repeatedly practice and adopt new emotional, cognitive and behavioral reactions over time. This is why Growth Journeys include continual practice opportunities for individuals, as peers and as groups. Organizations that are successful in their Growth Journeys establish a "Rhythm of Practice" in their business alongside the planning and budgeting cadence and other regular business events. A Rhythm of Practice includes ongoing measurement of growth mindsets and behaviors, after-action-reviews at the end of meetings and individual growth practices, such as mindfulness, study groups and coaching. ●