top of page

Are You Growing or Dying?

July 15, 2020

July is always a turning point in the year for me. Half the year is gone, the rest of the summer goes by in a blink and all of a sudden its Q3. This July feels so different for a myriad of reasons, and the world has changed so much in the last 6 months. We are all feeling the impact personally and professionally, and while you’re probably sick of people talking about the “new normal”, but the brutal truth is the world isn’t, and in many ways shouldn’t, just go back to the way it was. So, if you are hoping you could just wait this out and get back to your status quo, consider this your wakeup call.

If your organizational strategy is the same as it was last year, you might be in a tough spot soon (and we should probably talk) because what worked last year isn’t going to work now, or next. The same can be said for your personal skills, what got you here isn’t necessarily going to cut it going forward. Or to put it bluntly, ala Lou Holtz, “you’re either growing, or you’re dying”. Which side of that equation do you want to be on?

Let’s consider why this is, for a moment. On an individual level, right now we are all: 

· Working differently than we have before

· Leading differently than we have before

· Selling differently than we have before

Are your skills keeping up with these new working and leadership requirements or are you being stretched in some new ways? While it might feel counter-intuitive as many of us manage tight budgets and struggling bottom lines, this is not the time to neglect your (or your team’s) personal development.

However, if you’re going to invest now (and you should) make sure it counts. Here are five things you need for effective, sustainable, individual development. We call this our Improved Performance Chain because if one link is broken, missing, or weak, you will not get the results you need.


We know business is changing but identifying how our skills need to evolve can be tougher. You can get this kind of insight with a little personal reflection: 

  • What strengths should you capitalize on, are there any major gaps you need to close? 

  • How has your job evolved? What skills would equip you to do it more effectively? 

  • Where do you want to go in the future? What capabilities do you need to get there?

  • What are the most important and impactful things that will make a difference in your performance? 

If you need help here, gather feedback from those you work with closely, and compare your abilities against those critical to your role. You can also leverage tools like a 360 Degree Feedback Assessment here, insight like this is a strong start to a development journey, and can be repeated after some time to show growth.


In our hyper-paced, constantly changing world, we all have more priorities to juggle than we can handle. How can we possibly fit in personal development, too? Development takes energy and focus, so it must stay prioritized for you to make progress. Just like anything else you are working towards in life, you will benefit from:

  • A clear vision of the end-goal

  • A strong support system

  • A way to measure progress


What knowledge, skills, and abilities are critical to enabling your behavior change? How can you go about developing them? Many of us default to formal training to develop our knowledge, skills, and abilities, but there are many other options out there, and depending on your goal there might be ones that are better suited. We recommend a blended approach for building capabilities:

  • The most: Experiential learning, or “learn while doing”

  • Some: Social learning, or “learn from others”

  • A little: Formal learning, or “learn through a structured solution” 

If you need some inspiration, check out our ebook on our top Five Under-Rated Learning Activities.


These new capabilities will not do us much good if we cannot remember to use them. Real change comes from applying the learning to your real-life and integrating it to the point that you are creating new habits. You might know this as Unconscious Competence. To make your own way there, identify the on-the-job behaviors you expect to see with these new capabilities, and work them into your habits.


Have you ever made great progress towards a goal, and then something comes up, and it falls to the wayside for a while? Accountability is the secret sauce to stop that from happening. While what works for everyone is different, at a minimum we recommend: 

  1. Write it down. Use a personal development plan

  2. Set mini-milestones. Big lofty goals are fun, but if they take a long time to reach you can run out of that crucial motivation. 

  3. Measure your progress. Identify the behaviors and results your efforts will amount to. This gives you an unequivocal answer on whether you are achieving them.

  4. Frequent check-ins. Don’t let your development become “out of sight, out of mind”. If you have trouble keeping an appointment like that with yourself, set up one with someone else, a boss or mentor. 

  5. Celebrate wins. Celebrate wins when you have them! These can be small victories but allow yourself to celebrate your achievements. 

So what will it be for you: growing or dying? Do yourself and your business a solid and figure out how to elevate yourself to the next level. If you incorporate these elements, you should be set up for success!

Is there anything missing? What else do you think is critical for improved performance?

14 views0 comments


bottom of page