So many times when I talk to business leaders, they talk about growth. And it always leads me to one question, why do you want to grow?
Usually, I get that “you’re a heretic” look as if I’ve somehow slandered the flag, mom, and apple pie all at one time. But what is the reason? Why does everyone want to grow? Is there some point where staying where you are and just getting better is enough? Is it not okay to be or have enough? It would seem not.
Sometimes the answer to my “why do you want to grow?” is a sort of non-answer that attempts to sound noble or visionary. They hem and haw and give me some mumbo-jumbo about innovative enterprise platform transformation or some such nonsense. Really? How many business catch phrases or buzzwords can be strung together? It’s just gibberish to deflect the truth that they don’t really know why they want to grow. I believe they just think growth is what a business is supposed to do. For this lot, growth is a meaningless battle for a hill only to fight for another and another ad infinitum.
More typical though, the answer to my “why do you want to grow?” question is about making more money. But, again, I have to ask, why? Do you need more money? Is the business hanging on its last breath living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence? Is it a cashflow problem or maybe a tax issue? Are creditors pounding down the doors? Or, do you just want to line your pockets and get rich? (You may want to rethink that last one, it’s a bit less than noble.)
All of this leaves me scratching my head wondering, outside of making more money to ease the worries of financial burden, what are some relevant reasons for growth that matter? To answer that, we need to start thinking outwardly rather than inwardly. We need to start thinking about giving more instead of getting more. Here are three ideas.
1) How about considering growing your business so you can share the great stuff you do with more people? That’s a motive that’s of benefit to the world, or at least some part of the world.
2) How about considering how growth might allow you to innovate more and find better answers for those you serve? That might lead to something to not only benefit the world but transform it.
3) How about considering growth for your employees so they have more security for their future? That strengthens you, your employees, and their families, and is truly worthwhile and noble.
You see, these are reasons where growth has purpose. This is where growth makes a difference. And isn’t that what makes a business truly great, when it makes a difference for all of its stakeholders?
Next time you are asked about growth, think about your reply. Is it to give more or get more? Does your answer matter to more than you? If it doesn’t, it may signal that your business doesn’t matter to more than you either.
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