When a Business is Planning Growth

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3 Questions the Savvy CEO will ask

I firmly believe that when a business is planning growth, the CEO should ask a few questions of the Senior Executive Team. My experience has taught me that some Executive Teams need to find a way to work together more effectively and have a different business outlook if they are to achieve stretching business growth goals. So, don’t press the GO button on your Growth Plan yet.  Read on.

I’m not going to share all of my tips, as you would have to hire me for that, but here are 3 questions that the savvy CEO should ask before embarking on Growth.

Q.1.  Does my Team have a Growth Mindset? 

A scholar called Dweck has written about the difference between a Fixed and a Growth mindset.  I like her work.

Dweck says, “In a Growth Mindset, people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point.”

In contrast, an individual with a Fixed Mindset believes that their intelligence is static, that their qualities are carved in stone, are concerned about looking smart or stupid and thus create an urgency to prove themselves right.  Guess what, they don’t handle setbacks very well.

My Mum, Frances, had a Growth Mindset.  Two days before she died, aged 84, she learned to play American Pool.  In the 1960’s I recall she sent off for a Distance Learning Pack called “Learn Russian”, on the basis that she could negotiate with them if they invaded! Thankfully, the occasion didn’t arise but she learned enough to chat to her Russian born Dentist later in life and told me she really enjoyed their conversations and she thought he did too.

Back to Dweck, she believes the same sort of mentality can be applied at an organisation level with a Fixed Mindset business more likely to have a few employees who are “stars” and highly valued, leaving the rest demotivated and insecure.  Whereas, in a Growth Mindset business, leaders are more likely to rate their employees as innovative, collaborative and positively encourage stepping up.

In a nutshell, she is saying where there is a will, there is a way to achieve growth and when you combine the growth of the individual mind with the growth of your business you’re bound for success.

So, is your team on the same mission as you are? Make sure there is clarity of vision and goals between your Executive Team and do a review of existing departmental strategies, structures, policies, process and people to check that they are aligned to achieving business growth and do not conflict.

A Growth Mindset is tenacious and resilient.  Where the Team sees problems blocking their progress they will break them down into smaller projects and take action based on a balanced priority of those that will lead to growth.

A Growth Mindset requires the Team to learn quickly from mistakes and move on.  Do you know that there is evidence that when we make mistakes new neural connections are formed and that your brain actually grows from messing things up!

Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet new challenges or make mistakes.

Q.2.  Does the way my Executive Team work together need to improve if we are to achieve growth? 

Start by thinking about how your Executive Team interacts. Is there conflict? Cliques?  Perhaps the team would benefit from gaining an understanding of how they can work better with one another?

A simple working preferences questionnaire followed by a facilitated session to dig down into the detail of one another’s approach might be the best place to begin. When your Executives really understand their colleague’s predilections and differences you’re more likely to get better teamwork, negotiation and decision making.  A high performing team who know how to get the best from and enjoy working with one another is a prerequisite for growth.

Schedule time away from the office for this.  It’s crucial that you have uninterrupted time to learn about one another’s preferred style of working because it will immediately improve working relationships. This festive season, instead of organising that boring Exec Team Christmas lunch why not organise a lively and fun team building session so that your team have a better understanding of how best to work with one another as you move in to the new year and growth?

Q.3. How will the Executive Team engage the hearts and minds of their people that drive the growth plan? 

Let’s face it, the success of any business is down to your employees and your plan won’t work unless those who interact with your customers are on board, buy in to and drive the growth strategy.

You will need to formulate a plan of how the Executive Team will engage hearts and minds of employees so that the Growth Mindset is the dominant type across your employees. Ok, so what is in it for the employees?  How can you grab their attention and make them want what you want? Passion for growth needs to flow through every vein in your company if you are going to make this work. You may fail to convince or even lose some of those with Fixed Mindsets.  You will have to live with that.

Building a culture that encourages the Growth Mindset requires planning, information, involvement, openness and a cracking Learning Infrastructure so that your Employees can continually develop and grow – just as you business will.

And finally, as Dweck says “Genius is not enough; we need to get the job done.”

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