8 Growth Principles that Transform Leadership
Radical growth is the messiest – most painful – part of leadership.
Death precedes life.
Incremental growth is walking down familiar paths carrying the same assumptions. But, the first – real step – toward exponential growth is a profound and dreadful letting go.
Exponential growth is letting go of one rope while reaching for another. The more essential the growth-moment the greater the temptation to not let go.
Letting go feels like an indictment of the past.
Individuals, relationships, and organizations grow when they let go of worn expectations and assumptions. A family life example may help.
Parents develop relationships with their adult children when they stop thinking – let go – of their children as children and think of them as adults. Identities, roles, goals, and relationships radically change.
Refusing to let go destroys growth and opportunity.
8 radical growth principles:
- Believe there’s a higher purpose and meaning for your life, leadership, or organization. Faith enables growth.
- Explore uncertainties. But don’t wallow, believe.
- Learning includes letting go. You never learn when all you do is defend what you know.
- Walk toward fear and frustration. They point the way.
- Listen to those who have endured the darkness.
- Return to what you believed before you started living to please others.
- Declare yourself and your intentions. Radical growth confuses others.
- Realize change happens quickly on the inside, even though it took a long time to get there. But, change on the outside continues to be painfully slow.
7 indications you’re on the growth-path:
Radical growth results in:
- Personal brokenness.
- Compassion for others and self.
- Service. Giving yourself includes finding yourself.
Growth may begin with frustration and pain but it ends with greater fruitfulness.
What have you learned from growing through radical growth moments?
Wow, Wow, Wow!! You nailed this one! I’m in a church setting and this fits so well.
Thanks Bigal. If this connects with you, I imagine we have both experienced some radical growth moments. Best wishes.
Dan, nice job on this one sir. “Exponential growth is letting go of one rope while reaching for another. The more essential the growth-moment the greater the temptation to not let go..” is so true in leadership.What I’m having to learn is to learn to work through others other than trying to be Superman and go at it alone. In the short term it slows you down but in the long term it’ll speed you up and you’ll go further.
I look forward to your posts Dan. Thanks for your work. Please keep it coming.
Some of the most valuable lessons (both professional and personal) in life come from the moments of failure. None of those moments are easy but, in picking up the pieces and paying attention to the lesson of how the same outcome in future endeavors can be avoided, we learn. . . we become smarter. This must be a conscious choice, however. Otherwise, the same mistakes happen again and again.
Thanks Dianna. You remind me of all the times I spent circling the same problem because I refused to let go. I gotta tell you, I’m a very slow learner. But, as you indicate, when we pay attention we grow and become fruitful. Cheers.
Great post Dan. In those radical growth times, particularly when the situation is something totally outside of your control, you learn so much about yourself. Humility is the biggest thing I regained perspective on after going through one of those times –
– remembering that it’s not all about me
– realizing that there’s a higher purpose for what I’m going through and realizing that the purpose might just be to serve others
– building patience because when it is outside your control, you have to learn to wait as the timing is not yours
Radical growth is life changing. Thanks for helping me remember the value of such an experience.
Thanks Carrie. What powerful lessons. I think, we keep learning them in new ways as we grow. I respect your transparency.
This is outstanding, Dan. Difficult, but outstanding. There is a great deal of personal take away here for my past year. All seven of the indications are resonating this morning. This goes on the wall. Thank you, Sir.
Thanks Steven. It’s so rich to receive your affirmation and be part of your journey. Best to you.
I think of radical growth more of a transition than a change. With any transition, the beginning starts with an ending – “letting go” as you write. Whether it’s a parent becoming an empty-nester or a leader being promoted, its often hard to let go of what got us to where we are today.
Great post, Dan!
Thanks Bill. Love the term transition. Glad you added it. In my experience, transition is a bet too comfortable. Because I’m a slow learner, growth feels more like grinding gears than smooth transition. (I realize I assumed smooth) 🙂 Best to you.
Oh, so much easier said than done, Dan. 😉
In my personal experience, I would add a 9th Radical Growth Principle: #9 – Accept the unexpected pushes toward radical growth. I’ve experienced all 8 of these principles; but there are about half of them that I wouldn’t have openly, willingly, voluntarily embraced. But I was in a position where life’s events gave me no choice. The good news is that once embraced — whether openly or reluctantly — they are much easier to apply in all future settings.
Thanks Scott. The expression, “no choice” stands out to me. Glad you added it. It’s so true. The most radical growth moments are resisted to the point that we have no other choice but to let go of one rope and grab the new. Cheers.
Well it is sad these are seen as radical ideas.
I hit bottom about 10, 890 days ago, so you can listen if you want.
Been progressing everyday since.
There is no better way on earth to transform ones life than practicing the 12 Steps, period. Want to prove or just want me to be wrong? Put your brain where your bias is and go work these Steps and THEN share an informed opinion. Until then you have no idea what you are thinking about.
Since 1938 over 200 other groups gave formed following these 12 Simple suggested Steps.
They are generic, anyone can qualify, just use ego everywhere u see alcohol.
That simple substitution worked for the other 199 groups and the millions of people in them, so it will work for you.
A Spiritual, not religious program for everyone.
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.
Goes on to say those that do are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves!! Ouchie!!!!
First 164 pages written in past tense. This is what worked not done whacko theory stuff from people telling you what to do they do not do themselves!!! Lol
When you have tried everything else and come up snake eyes, come on over!!
Everyone welcome irregardless of race, color and creed!
End with my favorite quote,
“There is a principle that is proof against all arguments, bound to keep a man/woman in everlasting ignorance, that principle is contempt prior to investigation” Herbert Spencer
All I am saying is this path millions have grown with might benefit you, if you open yourself to that possibility.
Did for me 10,890 days in a row and counting!
Results or rhetoric, what’s your choice?
Thanks Scott. That first line… “Hit bottom,” is so often the case when radical growth happens. Congratulations.
Thanks Dan, it is my story and apparently I am sticking to it…..cause IT WORKS!!!!!
I do agree that radical growth moments are painful. They are painful because they need extra pain to keep growing. And in the process of growth, we learn specially from obstacles and nadir. Those who really see worst phase and still continue to believe and do what they do, learn greater than anyone else.
I see the whole phenomenon differently. It is like getting escape velocity and one achieved difficult to stop. So, one principle that transform ordinary approach into leadership approach is the escape velocity. And it takes lot of energy, effort, pain and dedication to get it. You need to sacrifice comfort. And then only transformation is possible.
Secondly, I also believe that those who believe in remaining defined orbit, may not transform either to self or others. Defined territory has defined path, defined effort and defined outcomes and that is why nothing great can be predicted. To achieve greatness, one need to break defined territory to undefined territory. And once it is undefined, then sky is only the limit.
Therefore, I strongly believe that people who pursuits, follows and believe to get into undefined orbit, have much more scope to follow the transformation of any kind.
I connected with this one! This post reflects what I believe in. Thanks Dan!
This is great, Dan. The blackness definitely led to my transformation to a humble leader.
This post comes at a great time as I am deciding to step out and find more responsibility and thus more accountability in a position. I never want to stop growing, never want to become stagnant. Thanks for the nudge.
You are right at my doorstep with this one Dan! 🙂 I am in the middle of my growth path at the moment and as frustrating and painful as it is, I know in the end there will be fruitfulness and I will be strengthened. There is purpose in my pain and this experience is proving what I had long believed – “I can be bent, but I’m not easily broken!”
It is important to:
1) Ask “why” when contemplating change. Research shows that over 70% of change initiatives fail, just like over 50% of M&A efforts don’t achieve desired results. Some of this is due to flawed character, where the leader starts a change initiative for personal gain or prestige. Others are due to poor management of change.
2) Perpetual radical change can become anarchy, with similar results. Organizations should only change to further their missions. There is no other valid reason. They should not fear necessary change, but avoid any changes which detract from mission focus.
3) To maximize change effectiveness requires a culture that values and supports change, as Toyota does. This is a cultural shift.
In my opinion, most of what we term “radical change” is done for the wrong reasons, in the wrong way, and not supported by culture and training. Change management is a popular, almost sexy, subject. Doing it well requires dedication, humility, focus, trust, and hard work.
Another Why Warrior!!!!!
Yes Marc, Start With Why!!!
Good show!!!! Continue to share the good news!!
I was once on a leadership team that experienced a radical change of leadership. Eventually, I realized I would have to leave for my sake and the organization’s sake because I couldn’t let go and embrace the new. Great post Dan!
As you know Dan, our group is living this now. Some are able to let go quicker than others, and some not at all. It’s helpful that our leader is telling us we shouldn’t expect the transformation to be fully realized for 3-5 years. From what I’ve read from Kotter’s “Leading Change” book often the biggest benefits don’t come until year 6!
James Clear recently wrote about how it’s a myth that new habits can be learned in 21 days, it’s often much longer than that: http://jamesclear.com/new-habit
So if a new habit takes that long, certainly meaningful mindset change is exponentially longer or possibly even an order of magnitude (10 times longer).
Hey JM, what if this dude is only clear about one thing??
Being wrong!!!! Lol
Look change takes an instant, staying changed is another story.
Lift your arm with your thoughts!!! Can’t be done right!!!
Point is motion has alot to do with imprinting something new.
Looks here is the deal.
Dan Sullivan has a course the 21 day positive focus!!
It’s cool got the cd in the truck right now as I type!!
Dan is Epically successful and well known.
He charges 20k a year to coach people and he continues to get new folks to coach because he gets results.
He says 21 days, this Clear dude says no way!!!
Who is right????
They BOTH are!!!!!! Lol
Thing is this, the people who find it useful to believe this clear fella knows what he is talking about need to learn from him!!!
The people who believe 21 days work, google Dan Sullivan!!!!
And the real truth?? Lies somewhere in-between most likely BUT DOES NOT MATTER in the least!!!
What matters is hooking up with the crowd who believes what you believe and do not waste anytime with folks who do not!!!
One huge problem with workplaces is we hired the wrong way.
Instead of hiring on belief, we hire in skill and ability!!
Those do not really matter if core beliefs do not match!
Not good or bad…..different!!!
See JM, I believe 21 days work cause I have done it numerous times. You believe it takes longer. So what!!!! Lol
See why no matter how you and I would try we should never work together?
Core beliefs about change differ?
Doesn’t mean we are not both bright capable guys…just core believes do not match.
Anyways thought that might turn the light on!
Beliefs, not skills and abilities. Skills and abilities can be had, core beliefs, good luck changing them!!!
Walk toward fear and frustration. They point the way. – I like that picture. This picture also might include taking a key from our own pocket and opening the emotional door of fear that we imprisoned ourselves with. Good post!
“Exponential growth is letting go of one rope while reaching for another.” This is great to remember that letting go doesn’t mean to give up.
Dan, thanks for the great post. I’m on the verge of taking a “gap year” for the first real break in my 25 year career so there’s a lot of “letting go” going on. One of the most interesting insights I’m having is the challenges that letting go present to my own identity. Career has been huge for me and my work has been a true passion. Putting it on “pause” for a year means that most of my identity-reinforcing behaviors will end (at least for the 12 months) and that’s creating a whole lot of squeamishness – kind of like that feeling in the pit of your stomach as you stand in line to go on that really scarey rollercoaster they just opened at Disneyland!
Your post reminded me of a greeting card I have held onto for at least 20 years, and have pinned to my bulletin board, that reads “Courage is the ability to feel afraid and act anyway.” It relates to your point about walking towards fear, and has been a guiding principle as I work through the fear and uncertainty of trying to resurrect a struggling nonprofit–and succeeding.