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5 Obstacles to Growth

Growth StepsGrowth is the key factor in everything we do. From Business Growth, Opportunity Growth, Financial Growth or Personal Growth – the key connection is Growth. Positive Growth is more accurate.

Growth is our lifeline to the future. Think about periods of no growth – like the “Great Recession” several years ago. The decline in growth hurt – revenues declined, incomes declined, homes were lost, jobs were lost, morale was low, and people were naturally more negative about things.

Growth is the only thing that can substantially change the course of the low ebb tide of performance and mindsets. Without growth, we would still be in this mental and actual bind of negativity and decline.

So how can we improve Growth? What can leaders do to increase the opportunities for growth? What can individuals do to improve their growth opportunities? Here’s how…

What Has Changed without Your Awareness?

This weekend I watched parts of several football games – both college level and professional. And, while watching them I had an aha moment regarding how things change without us being aware of the changes.

My aha was regarding the offensive lineman and specifically their technique. What I was playing football, lineman were not allowed to grab the defensive player at any point. In fact, we were taught to grab our own jerseys and basically use our arms as big flippers to hit our opponent. Therefore, it was easier for the defensive players to attack the offense and make plays.

Today the rules of the game have changed. It appears an offensive lineman can grab as much jersey as he wants as long as he does get outside the opponents arms. Therefore, watching these football games was an exercise in watching basically wrestling matches at the line of scrimmage.

My initial thoughts were – wow I could have really good if I could have grabbed hold of the defensive player’s jerseys during a game. With my long arms this would have stopped my opponents dead in their tracks and I would have won even more of these battles.

Okay, so what does my story of football have to do with leadership today?

When Thinking Outside the Box – Whose Box?

Interesting thing happened last week as a client was reflecting upon how much they wanted to “Think Outside the Box.”

Now, normally when I hear this statement I get all excited about doing something new and out of the ordinary. To take a risk – a calculated risk for sure – and find new ways to do things. These new things or ways should lead to differentiation and greater results.

Well, a funny thing happened along the path to working outside the box. I felt resistance to a number of ideas and thoughts about ways to change how things were being done. I was excited as the visions of significant improvements and greater results were dancing in my head (I know it sounds like I’m talking about Christmas – sorry!) Then I began to truly listen to the blocks and comments about the new ideas – which were not coming from the originator of the statement – Thinking Outside the Box.

I realized we were still playing in their Box rather than another Box where the ideas were flowing rapidly.

Five Keys To Maximize Success Changing Processes

One of the major concerns for executives is how to make sure a major change process becomes successful.

When an executive in today’s corporate environment signs up to lead a major change within the organization, their creditability and job security rests with the successful completion of the project. This is not a time for hope or “just do it” or the people will know what to do when the time comes for a real leader. Change is hard enough – add the word major to it and the stakes increase ten fold.

Looking at the Change Process as a project management point of view, then there are five keys to maximizing the progress of successful completion of the change process. Here are the five keys…

4 Steps to Positive Change

One of the funniest Dilbert cartoons I’ve seen had the caption, “Change is good.  YOU GO FIRST!”

That is how most of us feel about change.   Change is scary.  Even positive change can be a bit uncomfortable until it “fits”.

Change is actually good for us.  Yes, it truly is!   It takes us out of the mundane “ruts” of life as well as makes our brains work in a different pattern.  Have you heard that working crossword puzzles is good for us as we age?   That is because it causes us to stretch.  And it makes us work the parts of our brain that are important to staving off age-related mental and cognitive problems.

Embracing Change: Positive Persuasion is Better than Force

Persuasion is an important skill to be learned and utilized in relationships of all kinds.  When persuasion is used it should always be of a positive nature and not in the form of human trickery.  Negative persuasion (trickery) might look like a “win” in the short run but will almost always backfire on the user, most likely due to the Law of Karma or the Law of Sowing and Reaping.

Persuasion can be used in a positive manner to bring about positive change.

Ways for Embracing Change

Change is difficult even for people who enjoy change.  Many change initiatives fail because education and buy-in are not in place.

Ways to get others to embrace change:

  • Show them the “why” before the “how”
  • Use persuasion instead of force
  • Speak their language.  Use words and terms that speak to their specific style
  • Speak to their auditory/visual style (pictures, text, conversations)
  • Show them what’s in it for them (WIIFM)
  • Engage them in the process
  • Always be honest

Ways to nurture “self” when faced with change:

  • Accept change as a part of life
  • Build simple changes into your life
  • Develop and nurture support relationships in your life (both work and home)
  • Live a balanced life to offset the negative impact of sudden change
  • Change your thinking

Either we manage change or it will manage us.


”Change is good, you go first.”

Why Change Initiatives Don’t Work

More than half of change initiatives in organizations fail.  Most Fortune 500 executives cite “resistance” as the primary reason for failure.  Studies show:

  • Approximately 30% of reengineering projects are successful
  • Less than 25% of mergers cover the costs of merger
  • Less than 60% of quality improvement efforts are successful
  • 80% of CIOs say “resistance” is the cause of project failures

There are ways to improve these figures. Here are some of my ideas relative to improving these numbers…