What’s Your Growth Strategy?

Stained-glass house, 8ft x 10 ft, at edge of river

Earlier today, I walked by a colleague’s desk to chat. As we were talking, a book on his desk caught my eye. As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked, What’s that book? Brian then handed it to me and told me a bit about it. As he was talking, I opened the front cover and I saw something that I instantly knew would be helpful for every leader.

I’m not going to tell you exactly what that was…yet.

I’ll tell you what it was about, though. It was a simple and clever way to think about growing as a leader. I’ll share the specifics with you next week.

Right now, though, I challenge you to evaluate your strategy is for self-improvement. You do have a strategy, don’t you?

You don’t?

Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t call what I do a “strategy” either.

What I tend to do is an ad hoc five-step process:

  1. Get frustrated with something
  2. Identify the source of frustration
  3. Analyze potential solutions
  4. Choose an approach and attack the problem
  5. Assess results and adjust as needed

For example, I’ve recently grown frustrated with my lack of skill in coaching others in emotional intelligence. The frustration surfaced because I’ve seen a number of leadership problems recently that are rooted in or very connected to lack of emotional intelligence. (At the same time, I recognize my own need for growth in this area. So why not kill two birds with one stone?)

So, I found myself dealing with a series of leadership challenges. I identified the issue as lack of emotional intelligence and my lack of effectiveness in helping these leaders grow in this area.

The next step is to analyze ways to solve that. This is the step I’m currently at. I am reviewing my existing resources on coaching others in emotional intelligence and looking for new resources, too. After I complete this step, I’ll decide on an approach and begin to work the solution. Along the way, I’ll measure the results and adjust as needed.

The approach isn’t highly sophisticated. It’s just a problem solving technique. If executed well, I will probably grow in my ability to coach other leaders in emotional intelligence. Problem solved.

But not as effective as it could be.

I’ll bet that most of you do something similar. Sure, you may tie your strategy to a vision and/or set of goals you have for the year. I’ve done that, too. Or, you may have decided you want to pursue a new career path and your development strategy is tied to that.

They are all essentially the same process:

  1. Frustration
  2. Identification
  3. Analysis
  4. Attack
  5. Assessment

It’s all rather scattershot, though. It’s not proactive. It’s not teachable. (The most effective leaders duplicate leaders.)

If we are strategic leaders, we need a more strategic approach to growth.

I’ll share an approach with you next week. In the meantime, take some time to accurately describe your process for growth as a leader. Assess your strategy and determine whether it is adequate.

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX. Photo available at Unsplash under CC0 license. Image modified for size and space.

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