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Real Growth Requires Reciprocity

Corporations often formulate their policies and objectives based on revenue growth and expansion. In so doing, they take into account what their employees can do better or deliver more of in order to achieve that desired growth. We are often told what is expected of us as employees. However, as leaders, have we ever thought of what's in it for them?

Growth is a two way street. In order for your business to be grown, you need to help your employees to progress. Real growth requires reciprocity. In other words – something for you, something for me. That is the only way growth can be sustained. You can only push employees up to a certain point if there is nothing in it for them so to speak.

I have often heard complaints about how hard it is to retain talent. Yet, has there been any reflection as to why that is the case? To dismiss the younger generation as "lazy" is myopic and ironically, a lazy way of thinking. As leaders, have we thought about what motivates workers?

I spoke to a millennial recently. He is well educated and articulate. Yet, to my pre millennial eyes, he didn't seem very ambitious. Instead of assuming, I decided to ask him why he didn't seem eager to work hard. What he told me stumped me. It wasn't that he was not prepared to work. It was that he was of the view that no matter how hard he worked, he would not be able to have the life that the baby boomers had. He wouldn't be able to afford to own a property anyway. With that in mind, why not just work to fund a "fulfilling" life? I couldn't argue with his logic. As a more senior member of staff, what have I done to create incentive for him to give his utmost?

In our pursuit of growth, have we forgotten to ask our employees what's in it for them? We can offer increments but is it ever enough to combat the rate of inflation? Possibly not. But then aren't there other ways to motivate our staff? Are we asking the right questions and listening to the answers?

For the sake of making a point, i will generalize. Millennials like to travel. They like to be mobile. Can we consider ways where we can accommodate these desires in our businesses? Perhaps we can consider overseas stints or the flexibility to work from a coffee shop or home once or twice a week? For employees who need to feel "fulfilled" can we look to supporting a cause that they believe in so as to create meaning? Instead of going out for yet another meal as corporate bonding, can we perhaps do voluntary work as a team with the company matching all donations made and crediting the individual for recommending that charity? Or maybe, could we have a "bring your pet to work" day once a month?

Outside monetary rewards, there are many ways to inspire your team. You just need to think about it from their perspective. Your job as a leader is not to be the best. Rather, it is to get the best out of everyone in your team. Instead of telling everyone what you want. Ask them what they want and listen with an open mind. What inspires you may not be what inspires them and that's OK. What we want to create is an environment where there is something for everyone. That way, we will all be working towards the greater good.


Based on most of the client organisations that we work with, Growth Mindset is often than not, one of the most misaligned and misunderstood area of concern that come up during Culture & Leadership development.

These are the common misconceptions about Growth Mindset:

  1. Growth mindset means striving for business growth

  2. Growth mindset is about having a positive, can-do attitude no matter what.

  3. Growth mindset is something you either have, or you don’t.

It is critical that we are able to help our clients to be clear on how we define Growth Mindset; as both the belief that skills and abilities can be improved, and that developing your skills and abilities is the purpose of the work you do.

A culture that fosters a growth mindset, then, is a culture in which all employees are seen as possessing potential, are encouraged to develop, and are acknowledged and rewarded for improvement.

Talk to us to find out how your organization can include your employees in the building of a Culture that fosters a Growth Mindset for long term business sustainability.


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