2 Sure Fire Ways to Build an Organization of Growth Minded People

…your personal growth is proportional to the number of risks you take plus the number of relationships you build.Jesse Tevelow

It is probably safe to say that most people want to improve their “lot in life” in some way. Whether it is a new house, new car, new clothes, more money, different city, different country, different career, different business or a million other motivators, most people have some sort of drive for personal growth and improvement.

What many people don’t realize is that the likelihood for success of this drive for personal growth is directly proportional to risks you take and the relationships you make. If you want to grow, you must always be pushing boundaries – taking a risk or building relationships or both.

For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to push boundaries. Sometimes the risks I have taken didn’t turn out the way I anticipated . . . sometimes they turned out better! That’s the thing with risks. You have to be willing to step out, take the risk and then learn from the experience regardless of the result. For example:

  • I did some ad hoc ski jumping one weekend when I was a teenager . . . without a long enough landing area – This did not turn out well. Speed, humans, gravity and trees are never a good combination!
  • Canadian Association of Public Speakers – I enrolled with the Canadian Association of Public Speakers and took their Fast Track program. This is a 6 month public speaking course for people who want to make their living speaking in public. This was a huge stretch for me, an introvert, but it was well worth the pain. I met a ton of great people and learned skills that I have been able to apply every day in the business world.
  • Writing a book – this was an interesting venture that stretched me in countless ways. I met some amazing authors and publishers and learned a lot through this process even though I didn’t make the New York Times best seller list! You can download a PDF of “Strength Zone“, my first book, for free here.
  • Sitting on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations – this has been a great experience. It is totally different than running a for-profit business and I have learned some valuable lessons and met some very successful business executives.

What does all this have to do with running your business?

As business leaders, we need to build an environment that promotes personal growth. If your employees can see that the business is supporting them as they strive to get better, grow as individuals and achieve new levels of success, they will be much more loyal, hardworking and valuable to your business. Daniel Pink lists Mastery as one of three main motivators for today’s workforce in his book Drive. If we are not creating an environment for our staff where they can grow and master their craft, they will leave and go somewhere that does.

You can create this personal growth or Mastery environment inside your organization by taking two major actions:

  1. Encourage your employees to take risks – Not crazy death defying or business bankrupting risks. We are talking about risks that take them out of their comfort zone. For example have your employees:
    1. Take training classes in areas that challenge their capabilities
    2. Teach training classes
    3. Take on new roles that stretch them outside their comfort zones
    4. Learn new technology
    5. Do some public speaking events
    6. Volunteer at a charity
    7. Relocate to a new city and/or country
    8. Switch to a new business unit within the company
  2. Encourage your staff to build relationships – this can be easy for an extravert and it can be difficult for an introvert but it is critical for personal growth. The goal is to leverage the experience, knowledge, and wisdom of our personal networks to help us grow as individuals. Likewise, we must also lend our experience, knowledge and wisdom to our personal networks so that other individuals can grow. To build new relationships, have your staff think about doing one or more of the following;
    1. Work with a new project team
    2. Get involved with a local industry group
    3. Attend industry networking events
    4. Participate in industry research groups like COAA or CII
    5. Look for connectors – these are people who are thought leaders and influencers in a certain area
    6. Join a mastermind group

Remember that “Personal growth is proportional to the number of risks you take plus the number of relationships you build.” Take some time this week and assess where your organization is at. Does it reflect a culture of personal growth? What actions can you take to steer it in that direction?

Click here for more details on a culture that promotes Mastery.

You can leave a comment on a personal growth, networks and risk below.


One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.Abraham Maslow

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