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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Growth: It's Personal

If you are selling yourself -- from a branding perspective (come on now) -- and we all should be, reflective change is an absolute necessity in how we do business today. It doesn't mean you have to constantly be changing, it means you have to constantly be thinking about whether you need to be changing. There's a great book entitled What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith that covers this concept.

Would it surprise you that he suggests even successful people need to be examining whether they have the right tools needed for continued success in their tool kit? Resting on your laurels is never a way to win a race. We're taught that as children with the Tortoise and the Hare so why do we assume that the top level's innovation should be at a product or service level. If you head up an organization you need to think about more than just the strategy involving the business. You need to think about your skill set.

As your climbing the corporate ladder, there are plenty of reminders of the skills you need to acquire or refine. You have managers, supervisors, reviews, job descriptions and many more that are continually pointing out areas for continued growth, but when the company is looking to you for leadership, the stellar leader is looking both outwards and inwards.

I liked what Les McKeown wrote in Inc., on the 3 Silent Killers of Successful Businesses:

"When was the last time you had a massive change of mind about a fundamental way in which you do business? When was the last time a coach or a mentor so challenged you about your management and leadership skills that you lost sleep? When did you last scrap a much-loved process, or system, or meeting, or process because its time had passed? When was the last occasion when someone told you you were flat-out wrong about something important-- and they were right?"

The problem with professional growth and attaining that point on the top of the corporate ladder is that you no longer are continually reminded of growth opportunities from the outside. You have to rely on yourself to uncover and explore them and so many times the pressure of leadership keeps you from doing that. You're busy thinking about the business or the employees, and you miss the teaching opportunities for your own growth.

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