Taking your team on a growth journey

Posted by  Christian Weichelt

Businesses want to grow – ideally faster than the market and profitably. This usually means doing (much) more with less. But does it have to mean to work (much) harder? Or is there a way to continuously work smarter? Here are some thoughts that I found extremely helpful in trying to answer the latter.

Understand and share the goal

In a growth environment, everyone plays an important role and is a key contributor. That means that every team member must be empowered to contribute the best they can. In my experience, the most effective way to prevent this, is limiting someone’s work to task execution. Really understanding the goal – and “having a new website” is definitely not one – is the first step to unlock the team’s brain power. Ultimately, that’s where the growth will come from. And “sharing” the goal doesn’t mean “telling” it to the team. It means making a joint one.

Start working agile

Scrum is an incredibly powerful way of working in teams. Yet, it’s mostly attributed to software development teams and that’s a real shame. In his – somewhat strangely titled – book “The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time” the co-creator of Scrum, Jeff Sutherland, describes how agile work processes can make any team more productive and effective – and why! I strongly believe that Scrum doesn’t only help teams to do things right, but also to do the right things. With its built-in early-warning systems it reduces the waste of resources, time and nerves significantly. It’s like a multiplier for the most valuable input: your people’s brains and passion.

Remove fear from the equation

The above is really ambitious and it requires quite some confidence of the individual team members – and a lot of trust among each other. The greatest inhibitor to growth therefore is fear: the fear to fail, the fear to not know, the fear to not do it right. Growth is first and foremost an attitude. Striving for the seemingly impossible opens completely new ways to solving a challenge compared to incremental improvements of the known. This is where growth hacking really starts. With less fear of failure, teams will start to connect the dots differently. And this creates innovation in processes and value for customers and the market.

There’s nothing like working in an agile team, that shares a goal and isn't afraid to tap into the unknown for a smarter way to do their work. And creating this kind of environment is not only rewarding, but also a great purpose for leadership.

Christian Weichelt

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