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The meaning of growing

We are so strongly wired for growth. Since we were children we have been experiencing growth in both a painful and a delightful way; the pain of becoming a teenager, with all its insecurities and anxieties, and all the excitement; the pain and the joy of doing something new; the pain and the work of learning a new skill.

As human beings, most of the time we’re thinking in terms of growth. Everything that we do, and the choices we make, including businesses, relationships, jobs and where we live are, one way or another, tied to this idea.

When we think about growing our business, sometimes we design it as a combination of the power of reaching out for more and the pain of doing that.

Many times we frame in our heads the view that growing is about winning, gaining and getting more. But at the same time we wonder if there are alternatives to growing in which the equation for winning, gaining, and more could be translated into one of sharing, collaborating, and enough.

Businesses are moving from just for-profit to having a purpose, and more lately also including doing well and doing good. However, there is still a real need to find a different way of defining growth that doesn’t imply excluding who we are and what we really want for ourselves and for others.

We lack the vocabulary to express the need to thrive in our businesses while bringing ourselves forward along with others. ‘Equality’, ‘human rights’, ‘purpose’ and ‘corporate social responsibility’ don’t do the job any more.

When we think about growing our business there are some questions that are worth taking into account, such as ‘How can I offer my best work, my best contribution?’ and ‘How many people do I need to make my business sustainable so I can thrive along with others?’

Think about an open economy (sharing); think about online and offline platforms (collaboration); think about conscious capitalism (enough).

Never before have these questions been so relevant. And never before has the way we show up been so relevant to finding the answers.



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