My experience in teaching and coaching different segments of people has taught me several important lessons but one of the best lessons has been that growth is infinite because learning is infinite. There has never been a point in my life where I have felt as though I know every single thing there is to know in my field of expertise or life in general. In my daily interactions with entrepreneurs, business people, corporate clients, friends and family, and even myself, I learn something new.
As the world takes many evolutions, leadership growth and development become more crucial; especially in these times of uncertainties, the need is urgent. The need for growth in our world today demands growth for not only leaders but for the entire team of people in an organization. “There is also a growing recognition that leadership development should not be restricted to the few who are in or close to the C-suite. With the proliferation of collaborative problem-solving platforms and digital ‘adhocracies’ that emphasize individual initiative, employees across the board are increasingly expected to make consequential decisions that align with corporate strategy and culture. It’s important, therefore, that they be equipped with the relevant technical, relational, and communication skills” – Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas, Havard Business Review, 2019.
Every business and the people that manage it go through several experiences. And the growth that can be attained through such experiences can manifest in 2 ways: growth either by default or by design. The term ‘growth’ in this article can be defined as the process of making decisions, whereas development is the action of implementing the decisions.
When we step into the phase of awakening at any point in our lives, work or business, we begin to feel the need to find and grow ourselves. In this phase, we must go beyond awareness into asking the right questions, making the best decisions that align with who we are and driving our development by taking action. I am a strong believer in growth by design because intentionality is key. It allows you to dream a path of growth and take tactical steps towards that growth. Growth by default is a game of chance. Growth by default can be tricky. Far too many people, consumed by their jobs, have lost themselves and neglected their personal growth. They only learn from mistakes and miss out on learning before mistakes. Growth by default in most cases also relies solely on talent whereas growth by design takes advantage of both character and talent.
Glenn Llopis, leadership strategist and contributor to Forbes magazine discusses 6 traits that can be nurtured by leaders and individuals who want to grow by design. Organizations that give their people and leadership the freedom to do it on their own terms for the betterment of the business are the ones that realize the growth transformation promises. Glenn’s 6 crucial leadership traits for growing by design:
- Be open-minded: Be more inclusive to the unique needs and perspectives of others.
- Get comfortable with ambiguity or uncertainty: Companies operate in environments where ambiguity and uncertainty are at all-time highs. Leaders must embrace uncertainty and see through the ambiguity to find previously unseen opportunities by taking the time to step back and understand why the ambiguity and uncertainty exist. As they do, it is imperative that leaders bring their people along to ensure they do not fear uncertainty and ambiguity either but embrace it to create momentum and sustain.
- Show strong situational analysis: see around, beneath and beyond what you seek. Rather than having a linear vision, have a circular vision that can effectively utilize the resources and assets of the organization in ways that guide and drive growth opportunities.
- Stand for inclusion and promote individuality: Inclusion is a system for making sure organizations are welcoming at every level to every individual. Inclusion is about finding like-mindedness in our differences and embracing individuals’ unique ideas and ideals. Leaders with a growth mindset have a deep desire to do this, and lead inclusion and embrace individuality as their primary growth strategy. They understand that if you’re not inclusive enough, then reputation management gets in the way of progress.
- Take ownership: simply be accountable and proactive. Don’t tolerate complacency.
- Grow with people: Today’s leaders must grow with their people. They need to eliminate hierarchy and rank and create environments of greater intimacy in which all people can get to know each other so that they can grow and evolve together. Leaders must then not only value the relationships forged but invest in them to keep earning the trust of others.
The journey of personal growth by design begins within us and our minds. It begins with mastering the skill of self-awareness and applying it to every area of our lives through the decisions we make in our professional and personal relationships. Sometimes, the journey of growth and development requires that we let go of certain habits and relationships, and other times, it demands that we hone a new skill or improve that which we already have.
Our potential for personal growth and development is endless. How can we by design bring our mind into a place of awareness, come up with consistent plans, choose growth and take action to develop? With the help of these 4 keys, you can begin to stimulate your personal growth:
Self-awareness should not only be seen as an abstraction but an action. It is an effort to gain cognizance of your personality, your thoughts, your beliefs and your emotions including your strengths and your weaknesses. To be self-aware means to pay attention to your thoughts and action. Only then can you highlight areas of your life that need to be developed. You cannot change what you do not know and you cannot grow what you do not know. It all begins with gaining clarity about who you are!
Decisioning is a skill most people shy away from out of fear of making the wrong choice. However, even worse than making the wrong choice is allowing our will and freedom to choose to be paralyzed by fear. The skill and art of decisioning begins with your values and character. Decisioning essentially begins with asking ‘WHY’ and going through a process to answer ‘WHY’. Your decisions must align with not only who you are but the person you are working to be. Remember that the journey is one of growth. Hence the goal is always to be a better version of yourself. Are my choices going to make me better? What could possibly happen if I make this choice? These are a few questions to ask yourself on a daily basis. Jim Rohn summarizes the goal of decision-making brilliantly: “Most importantly, remember that truly ‘wrong’ decisions in life are rare. Rather, each choice has a corresponding consequence. Some of these consequences may seem positive, some may seem negative, but ultimately none of them are really ‘wrong’ for us. (Except destructive choices that result in harm to yourself or another. Those I would consider definitely bad or wrong choices.”
However in a general sense, every decision we make simply moves us down a particular path in life. If we later decide we do not like that path, we do have the power to choose another direction. Yet even the paths we decide we do not like have something positive to offer us. We learn and grow in wisdom with every decision. We get to know ourselves better and better, and each decision we make later will be more in line with who we truly are, and the lives we want to create for ourselves.
- How Do I Get There?
Growth continues with making a decision but development comes about through action. After you know ‘why’ you want to do something, to get it done, you must know how to. Which way best aligns with your intentions and who you are? The modification begins once you start to take persistent and consistent action. Is it the skill of pitching you are trying to hone? Go at it every day! You can either begin with watching videos and practicing or getting someone experienced in that field to coach you. The method you choose comes back to who you are and which learning method aligns with your personality.
Once you begin with self-awareness, the journey must continue daily. Personal growth and development do not have time frames and there is no end to it. There is always more to achieve, beginning internally and expressing it outwardly through your decisioning and actions.
More important than knowing about it or reading about it is being able to live it. There is a whole world out there to discover in our life, love, work and business and as we grow into better people, we outgrow old things. In every season, whether by design or by default, ask yourself what you are supposed to learn from the experience to grow.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Soft Skills Expert, Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.