Are You Limiting Potential Growth?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Randy Wolken 2015Leaders have a primary responsibility to advance the success of their team members and their organizations.  They can also be inhibitors of the necessary growth of the capabilities of their team.  How can this happen?  Leaders can fail to communicate and demonstrate their willingness to support the learning and growth efforts of others.

Every great outcome achieved by an individual or organization started with the belief that it could be done.  However, most breakthroughs involved learning new capabilities and taking risks.  When leaders don’t communicate their beliefs that it can be done and the willingness to accept risks of temporary setbacks, little progress is made.  Naturally, our teams and organizations play it “safe” and do what has been acceptable in the past.  By its very nature, what we are doing today will likely fall short of what is needed in the future.

So what is a leader to do?  I believe it starts with admitting that each leader’s own journey involves being open to change; learning and using new skills; and experiencing temporary setbacks that need to be overcome to gain success.  Our own stories of struggles, doubts, and outright temporary failures show we are human and successful despite our setbacks.  It also gives leaders permission to open-up about their own doubts, uncertainties, and setbacks.

The speed of change today is transforming how successful our organizations will be.  I am constantly amazed by how technology and risk-taking is helping members thrive and its impact on their short-term and long-term futures.  Creating a growth environment is the best way to expand capabilities and set the tone for future success.  Leadership is needed to foster just such an environment in an on-going and systematic way.

Leaders need to ask themselves some important questions; What were some of the specific situations where I needed to grow? Am I willing to share these situations with my team as an example for them to lean on in their own efforts?  Am I willing to create an environment of growth and risk taking? What changes are necessary in our culture to do so productively?  And, what is one concrete step I can take this week to advance the growth potential of my team members and our organization?  These important questions can spur leaders on to the changes they will need to make in order to take the lid off of the growth potential of their people and company.  This will help everyone be more successful – and happier – in our fast-paced, competitive world.