In the hard driving world of business a person would be hard pressed to find an organization not focus on growth. Many a wise sage have quoted the maxim, “If you are not growing you are dying.”For some leaders the idea of growth, most commonly measured in terms of year-over-year progress, is an all-consuming ambition. The very heartbeat of an entrepreneur is to undertake an idea and grow it to its fullest potential.
After nearly 30 years of making observations within the business world I have learned growth is influenced by one simple principle in life. Regardless of the area of life you desire to grow, professional or personal, this simple principle dictates the sustainability and quality of your growth.
The Principle of Sharing
For much of our life we have been taught sharing is good. The basic principle sounds like this, “Tony, share your toys with your sister.” At the tender age of seven I missed the profound lesson being taught in this simple principle of life. I grow as a person when I share what I have or know with others.
Sadly we frequently miss out on the high quality and sustainable growth most of us desire. What holds us back is fear. When the fear of running out or not having enough controls our thinking we keep what we have as a means of self-preservation.
Study organizations that have experienced consistent high growth and you will find the sustainability of their growth is always linked to a culture of collaboration and sharing. When silos exist within an organization you will find a phantom-growth taking place. Phantom-growth occurs when hard-charging individuals produce substantial results but keep their knowledge and resources to themselves.
Organizations experiencing phantom-growth are often caught off guard by sudden plateaus or drops in year over year results. Sadly many leaders miss the warning signs.
The Warning Signs
- Compensation platforms aligned to promote self-preservation over sharing and collaboration.
- Recognition and awards fixated on the individual over the team or organizational success.
- There is a narrative of “the mighty few” who always seem to save the day.
The Simple Idea
The principle of sharing is grounded in the simple idea of true growth comes from sharing what I have and know with others to benefit them to do the same. You shouldn’t confuse this simple idea as a type of socialism. Consider the ancient proverb, I can give a person a fish and feed them for a day or I can teach a person to fish and feed them for a lifetime.
The idea of sharing is no secret. Yet the ability to share doesn’t feel simple. Consider these two questions as you embark on your journey of growth.
- What experiences have I had today that if shared would benefit someone else? Note: There is a subtlety in this question you shouldn’t miss…You MUST take time to be filled with new experiences. True learning (personal growth) only happens when you teach (share) your experiences with others.
- What resource(s) do I have if shared will be of value to others? Note: Value comes from providing resources that build others up to unlock their full potential to do the same. True abundance (personal and professional growth) only happens when we believe there is enough for everyone.
In the journal of an ancient king is a proverb which sums up the simple idea of sharing. The king wrote, “Two are better than one because there is a good return on their investment; should one fall the other is there to pick them up. But pity the person who falls with no one there to pick them up.”
After nearly 3000 years this ageless proverb is still true. When we share with others there is a good return from our investment…growth. Today is a great day to be on purpose and manifest the principle of sharing in our life.