Every day presents an opportunity for growth.  “Are you growing or dying?” It’s a question Coach Lou Holtz often asks during his presentations, and I’ve been very fortunate to see him speak several times.  Each time I am inspired by the personal examples he shares and his stories of how continuous growth propels success.  I am also challenged by that question:  Am I growing or dying?

Growth is a choice, yet, as the quote would infer, it is essential for “new life”. For leaders and employees alike, growth revolves around being open to new ideas, experiences, innovation, learning, feedback, new knowledge or skills, or something else that stretches you.  It’s an openness, an understanding that complacency is not an option and coasting can lead to stagnation.  Growth is recognizing that what is comfortable is often easy, but what is uncomfortable can lead to breakthroughs and new horizons.

So if you appreciate the importance of growth, how do you ensure at a practical level that members of your team are growing in a focused and productive way both individually and collectively? There are five key ways we grow and develop:

  1. Experiential Learning – Having learning opportunities while on the job and stretch assignments to promote skill building and new thinking.
  2. Feedback – Getting regular, timely, positive and developmental feedback that is given in tandem with the performance to ensure behavior change.
  3. Coaching – Receiving personalized performance coaching targeted to continued improvement and results within the role.
  4. Formal Training – Attending formal learning and development events to build competence and confidence in knowledge and skill sets.
  5. Self-Development – Proactively investing as an individual in personal development through reading, study, or other activities.

These five keys to growth can be used as a screen to see how effective you are, your team is, or your organization is at prioritizing growth.  A true learning organization ensures that these five levers are in play to promote development at all levels. In addition, a company focusing on growth is attune to different learning styles and employs multiple methods for development.  These proactive efforts not only make a difference in performance, but also in engagement, both of which lead to greater employee and organizational success.

Choose to propel your success and your company’s success. Choose growth!