Organizational growth is premised on sustainable ideas. I have heard people say over and over again that ideas are the hub upon which the entire universe or world rotates. Idea they say rules the world. If we are not learning new ways and new ideas to carry out our tasks as leaders, then the organization we are leading would suffer from stunted growth. However, for this not to be the lot of our organizations, then leaders are saddled with the responsibility of bringing about ideas that would help the organization achieve and experience growth. There are three phases of sustainable leadership ideas that can set any organization on the path of growth.
Listen to Podcast: Sustainable Leadership Idea Phases for Effective Organizational Growth
The first phase is what is known as THE RAW IDEATION PHASE. In this phase, an idea simply comes into your mind that has never been seen or heard before until it is conceived by you. The idea is simply raw, had never been tested anywhere before and it comes to your mind first. There is an example of this in the book of Genesis 30:31-32, 37-41 about the story of Jacob and Laban and I want us to consider it so that it can help us to fully understand what the raw ideation phase talks about. The Bible says:
“So, he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep your flocks: 32 Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and these shall be my wages.” 37-41 “Now Jacob took for himself rods of green poplar and of the almond and chestnut trees, peeled white strips in them, and exposed the white which was in the rods. 38 And the rods which he had peeled, he set before the flocks in the gutters, in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, so that they should conceive when they came to drink. 39 So the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Then Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the streaked and all the brown in the flock of Laban; but he put his own flocks by themselves and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41 And it came to pass, whenever the stronger livestock conceived, that Jacob placed the rods before the eyes of the livestock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 42 But when the flocks were feeble, he did not put them in; so, the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.”
In this story, the man known as Jacob had served his current organization for almost fourteen years under the leadership of Laban and the time was now ripe for him to depart and start his own. The idea of the speckled and spotted animals becoming his own was not an idea that Laban taught him or that he learnt from any university around at the time. This idea would then be the basis upon which he would start his own organization and if you read verse 43 carefully, the Bible says: “Thus, the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.” Meaning that the idea became the foundation upon which his organizational growth and prosperity thrived.
Now, if you are in this phase as a leader, what should you do at the raw ideation phase? Number one, you must never be discouraged to put your raw ideas to work. Afterall, people say “there is no harm in trying.” Don’t say because your ideas have not been tested before or read about before therefore, you decide not to try it out. If Jacob had refused to test the speckled and spotted animals’ idea out, maybe he would have left Laban’s organization not as prosperous as the Bible later recorded that he was. Always try your ideas out. Number two, don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Now, you would notice I used the phrase “calculated risk” right. The reason is because it is not all risks that are worth taking. Most organizations that you see today that are growing are calculated risk takers. The advantage of taking calculated risk is that even though the outcome of your decision does not match your expectations, however, you will not be losing everything; unlike those who don’t calculate the risks before jumping into the ocean. So, at the ideation phase, you must not be afraid to take calculated risk.
The second phase is what is known as THE ADVERSITY/PERSISTENCE PHASE. Now, good ideas are sometimes greeted with adversity, oppositions and all manner of negative vices that would want to repel growth. However, what would help the leader in this phase is persistence. One thing that I have realized is that there is no amount of opposition or adversity that can stop an idea whose time is ripe. As a matter of fact, one way to even know as a leader that your idea is ripe for execution is simply by the amount of adversity or opposition that you encounter along the way. Nehemiah was one leader who faced a lot of adversities because the idea to rebuild Jerusalem and it walls was laid in his heart, but in spite of those adversities, his persistence saw about the rebuilding (Read Nehemiah 6). So, as you journey towards effective organizational growth, have at the back of your mind that your ideas would be challenged, but you must persist as the leader until you achieve the growth that you desire for your organization.
The third and the final phase is what is known as GROWTH SUSTAINABILITY. How do you make sure that the growth you have achieved is sustained? This is what this phase is all about. Now, many leaders today miss it here at this point. Many have worked so hard to achieve the growth, and now that the growth is here, sustaining it has been the bane. I am going to show us a few things that I believe is going to help you as the leader if you are already in this phase or you are about to enter into it.
#1. You must learn to enlarge! With growth comes enlargement. Many leaders want to grow by all means, but they are not thinking about enlargement. The two terms go hand in hand. Let me show us a Biblical context for this and I believe it would help our understanding. Isaiah 54:1-3 says:
“Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
What this means is that you cannot be thinking growth and at the same time not consider enlarging your tents and territories for the said growth. There is a saying that “if you pray for the rain, also prepare for the flooding.” What sustains growth over time is adequate preparations for the said growth. Don’t just wait and do nothing, prepare for the growth adequately and this is how to sustain growth over time.
#2. Put growth sustainability systems in place. Once growth is attained, the next thing to do is to put in place a form of system that would ensure continuous growth. Build systems around the paths that brought your organization into growth in the first place. Smart organizations and their leaders build systems around their ideas. The system could be machines, and it could also be people. The most important thing is that the system keeps producing the growth result.
#3. Finally, identify possible growth averse people within your organization. These set of people sometimes assume that with more growth in the organization comes more responsibilities and they aren’t people who love responsibilities. So, such people, you don’t allow them to occupy sensitive positions within the organization because they would repel the growth. This is very important for you to note as a leader.
Alright. I think it is a good place to draw the curtains for today on Leaderview. Please don’t forget to share this podcast with your friends and people that you know would benefit from these things that we have been able to share with ourselves today. You can also drop your comments in the comment section below so that we can get to interact with ourselves. Till next time on Leaderview, I remain Obayomi Abiola. Thank you.
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]