Growth comes at the Boundary Conditions

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I was teaching the other day to an undergraduate class at Rollins on Rapid Enterprise Development and I found myself attempting to explain how important it is to create a culture of change. In the process of doing that, I observed that ongoing change, i.e. growth, is not necessarily comfortable for some people. Some people simply do what they know how to do and what they are comfortable doing. That is okay in continuing to perpetuate what is in the present. And, if what is in the present is working, then that is truly not a bad result in many instances.

However, if the intention of the organization is to grow, then the creation of a culture that invites those people who are interested in growth to participate has to begin at the beginning. And alignment needs to follow. Someone who is comfortable doing what they do will remain on the green slopes in the pizza position. But chances are they probably won’t fall, and they are probably not going to learn how to ski.

Learning how to ski requires accepting the fact that you will fall because you will be challenging boundary conditions in the process of staying vertical. The only way you can actually do that is by occasionally transgressing it and falling. In short, learning how to ski also means not being afraid to fall.

If an organization, therefore, wants to create a culture of growth, it needs to make sure that its associates are prepared to fall along the way. And that means recruiting and integrating associates who enjoy working in the boundary conditions. And it also requires the organization to accept the fact that culturally employees need to be allowed the opportunity to fall. “Fall quickly; fall often;” is not just simply tech talk – it is and should be the culture of growing organizations.

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