Two big factors determine how much a business will grow. Don’t get me wrong, there are a hundred other factors to growing business and revenues, but these two lead the way in any business and any industry.
The two factors are:
- The leader’s personal growth and knowledge level
- The employees’ personal growth and knowledge levels
Your mind may already be coming up with arguments. What about market share? Effective marketing? Supply and demand? Margin? Surely some things are more important than personal growth?
Let’s look at an example. Do you remember Blockbuster video? In 2004, they were the giants in their industry. They had 9000 stores, 60,000 employees, and millions of customers. Then the industry started to change, bringing Netflix and Redbox into the market. The founder of Netflix met with the CEO of Blockbuster and offered an affiliation that would serve both companies, but Blockbuster took their ball and went home.
Even though the CEO of Blockbuster, John Antioco, a man known for turning fledgling businesses around, saw the change coming and sought to adapt, he was voted out. A few years later, Blockbuster was bankrupt.
The flaw was relying on what they knew, what they were used to, rather than seeking to learn a new way—to grow and gain a new knowledge set. The leader of any company has to continue to grow and learn of course. That’s a responsibility well agreed upon. However, helping their people grow as well is an underrated necessity.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
Unless leaders plan to do everything themselves, forever, they need to develop competent team members. I believe finding the right people will always be the toughest part of any business. Keeping them is the second challenge.
These days, people leave jobs when they no longer feel they are progressing. They are much more likely to stay when they’re growing, even if it’s not financially. Not only does helping them grow work as a retention tool, it also serves the business. The better they get, the better they can serve the clients.
To grow a business, grow the people.