If you don’t grow, you go. The credo that prepares people for growth.

We expect our plants to grow.
We expect our stock portfolio to grow.
We expect our business to grow.

So, why don’t we make it clear that we expect our people to grow, too?

That’s why we have a saying at Dando, “If you don’t grow, you go.” Leaders should be explicit with their personal development. With the business of business, this typically either gets ignored or way over engineered. Personal development (and this important question) should always be a part of a growth-hungry company’s philosophy and performance review.

The specific question we ask employees:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GROW? IF YOU DON’T GROW, YOU GO.

The employee should write down what they are doing to grow — professionally and personally. This could include continuing education programs, blogs/books they are reading, podcasts they are listening to, new hobbies, anything to be a better person — which leads to being a better employee.

This exercise helps in important three ways.

Sets Expectations
There is a very subtle but profound distinction in asking this question.

Too often organizations are indirectly sending the signal that organizations are solely responsible for employee’s growth. The HR team creates opportunity after opportunity for growth, without putting any onus on the employee.

We know the most productive leaders and employees are lifelong learners. They are strangely curious and intentional about their growth. This question (directly and indirectly) says, “We care about your growth, but it’s your responsibility to care more.”

By asking the ways an employee is growing, you are setting the expectation that stagnation is not an option. Grow, or we’ll find someone else that will.

We expect our employees to grow, but the conversation is not always explicit. We hope people “read our minds” and know our personal development expectations. This puts it all on the table and gets everyone on the same page.

Energizes Employees
Growth happens through learning and making mistakes. By encouraging employees to try something different and grow, it can energize the company. You might see people sharing different ideas to grow throughout the organization.

Everyone reaps the benefits of the new collective knowledge. Have you ever sent someone to an amazing conference or seminar or training? They came back excited and ready to implement everything they learned. Imagine a whole company with the same energy.

The Company Grows
Growing employees help grow companies. With this credo, you’ll find that your company is full of more growth-obsessed employees.

Not only are your employees learning, they are building a new set of muscles. The muscles built are focused on growth — first in the individual, but the muscles will be built in the business.

We expect growth from financial investments. If we don’t get growth out of our financial investment, we find another investment that will give us growth. Why wouldn’t we expect growth from people?

If we asked 20 of your employees this question (What are you doing to grow?), how would they respond?

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