Of course, the end result in business is critical – but should we all be looking to develop a sustainable culture of growth in order to get the very best out of our team and to encourage people to address weaknesses and get better which could lead to improved performance… It’s a tricky one. The spotlight won’t move away from results ultimately, but there are ways to drive cultural change which could be best for all. 

The desire to get as much from each employee as possible is important, the economy is changeable, and the bosses are always going to be monitored on their success and the performance of each person who works for them. But… what if that obsession with performance becomes too much for their employees, what if it begins to alienate some and what if, ultimately, the outcomes they can deliver are compromised by the feeling of fear attached to being ‘successful’. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, is there a way to have a sustainable strategy for performance growth which is based on a change in culture, and one that doesn’t drive burnout within your employees? 

Once you have hired someone into your business, the plan should be to support them, train them and develop them to be as asset to the team.  Allowing your team to be able to acknowledge their shortcomings and gaps in their own skills in order to support their growth is critical.  If the employee feels they need to hide any failing away in order to achieve performance metrics set, then their tenure will be short-lived because they’ll never feel like they’re growing or succeeding. Don’t stifle the desire to learn or be curious – encourage this. Similarly, ensure your leaders are doing the same – no one knows everything, so break those barriers away from the top down. 

Allowing space to identify potential weakness, see them as an opportunity to grow and learn and then acting on that through training and coaching is so important in building a growth culture. 

Getting positive results is obviously important in all businesses – but constantly pitching successful people against unsuccessful people is perhaps not the most sensible way to build that culture of growth. Only ever rewarding those who are successful is a sure way to alienate those who may have learning requirements and you may miss vital training opportunities.  

Most people want to get better at whatever it is they are doing – and while the numbers need to stack up and the performance of the business will be scrutinised – there is so much to be said about allowing people to spot a weakness and work on it to improve – rather than being confident that they are likely to lose their job or fear that they have failed. 

One of the simplest ways to start developing a culture of growth is to look at the feedback culture in the business. Is it something which is part of the business – where both leaders and team members expect it regularly and then act on it? Is the approach to feedback consistent? Is feedback encouraged? 

A company-wide anonymous feedback survey would be a good place to start – warts and all. If you don’t know what’s underneath the surface, then you are going to struggle to fix it. Gaining feedback like that gives business leaders the chance to address their own potential failings before embarking on supporting the growth of others.  Once you have a clear understanding of what is living under the surface then your plans to develop and maintain a culture of growth can be made, delivered and consistently implemented. 

If you do feel that you need to shift the balance between a purely performance-based culture to one of encouraging growth, then you may need to battle through a tough period of adjustment but persevere and stick to your guns on it.