The Value of Growth
It is easy to deceive ourselves into believing that Growth is a natural value in our work. The problem comes in that Growth feels like a value because it happens regardless of whether we try or not.
The key comes in the way we manage growth. Without someone managing it, a yard can seem green, yet be infested with weeds. Growth happens naturally, but desired growth is substantially harder to manufacture. Yes, Growth requires inputs, but those elements also require continual moderation, care, pruning, and time in order to flourish.
What we often neglect to mention when we say “we want to grow,” is a target. An end goal which guides our decisions and efforts to create and produce something substantial — Targeted Growth.
Targeted Growth, the exact type of growth we and our partners and friends desire, doesn’t happen naturally. It’s very hard and takes a lot of time and effort. Additionally, the willpower to work for growth doesn’t come naturally. It’s earned through fighting, clawing, pushing, prodding, and refining — this is how Growth occurs.
Growth, when not managed correctly will still happen, but it will happen destructively. Think of ivy. I hate Ivy (especially Poison). Ivy can be a beautiful ground floor covering for the woods. However, it can also consume an entire tree and strangle out that which is true growth — that which has fortitude and a foundation.
Desiring growth is not enough. Desiring Targeted Growth is not enough. We have to fight for the right type of growth. Not just the feelings or appearance of it.
Just because metrics, numbers or percentages are increasing does not mean they are the right numbers or values. Furthermore, they could be the right ones, but maybe they aren’t moving at the pace we need them in order to get closer to our actual goals. If we only measure the surface things could look great, but like ivy, could be pushing down really deep roots in the wrong direction — growing out of control to the point where our entire ecosystem is in jeopardy.
Growth is something that everyone wants, but that few will work for.
Everyone wants to see high numbers at the end of the month. Everyone wants to see high ROI at the end of a campaign. It is far easier to cast vision for “what could be” and assume that the success is already in hand after the thought was put into a sentence.
Few people want to put in the work to establish the starting point and think through what it takes to achieve targeted growth — what the cost will be. Even fewer want to put in the work to actually move the strategy forward and be the oversight for the nuts and bolts. Many people want to admire and eat the fruit, few want to be the gardener.
Targeted Growth is what takes us to new heights. It’s what allows us to see new problems — new areas in our work of which we were previously ignorant. New perspectives so that you can look down and see where systems might not be operating at their best. As you grow, you can see the strategies, work, and parts of yourself or organization that might not be as valuable, might have less of a return, or might be dead. Growth can be a scary thing because it is limiting— at least on the onset.
Pruning goes hand-in-hand with healthy growth. It’s a package deal. Pruning of ideas, resources, and time. It funnels down vision from the multitude of “what could be” to a single starting point — a single idea that must be acted upon. A single strategy which must be pursued.
Growth is a restrictor in some instances of vision and many times can seem an antagonist. There is friction and it needs to be acknowledged. Growth requires that potential must be acted on, and that it has to be done a certain way — it demands intentional focus.
Vision says, “Here are all the options”, Growth replies “Which one must we do?”
It is the answer to this question combined with the fortitude to act upon it which determines if Growth is a value, or only a by-product of time and wishful thinking.