What limits business growth?

Most business limitations, surprisingly or not, start with the owner or managing director. This is not about projecting blame but seeing how the chain of limitations are created.

This is not just really specific to business but to life in general. We tend to surround ourselves with people that have similar traits to our own even if it does not appear so at first sight. I often do an exercise with business leaders. I ask them to describe their ideal employee. Usually they respond with a list of great traits. At that stage I ask them to point their attention to the downsides to those same traits they described as positive. To give you an example:

  • Very Punctual with Projects – Not flexible if things go wrong
  • Perfectionists to the finest details – Unable to hit deadlines
  • Works all hours – has no private life/work balance – heading for burnout

What is quickly realised in this exercise is that the person they are describing is themselves. The line of employment down the chain is by no accident a family of people sharing the same struggles.

If you find a company with a really awakened director, you may find that they have coaches or personal development allowances, leadership seminars for management etc, but often they still share the same limitations. After all the person choosing the path of growth for the business is only going to choose with the mind-set and limitation they have.

Creative Geniuses – Where does creativity come from?

Creativity, genius and growth come from within. If you are not nurturing yourself first and foremost, then your major leaders and then encourage them to do the same with their staff, this will perpetuate through your empire, no matter how big or small.

  • Steve Jobs’ realisation of how to change the world’s computing
  • Michael Jordan’s outstanding basketball skills
  • Mozart’s ability to create classical music unlike anything before him
  • Van Gogh’s vision of a new way of painting unlike anyone before him

Is your intellect telling you that those people are different? They had some form of advantage? This does not apply to you? And where do you believe that message generates from?

See, my belief is that we are all born creative geniuses. We simply spend a lifetime getting away from that knowledge with installed values, beliefs and self-imposed limitations that come to us as life’s baggage. While as children we have the natural ability to access the zone of genius as adults we often tend to move away from that universal gift and to adjust to live in our heads developing over time our rational intellectual faculties.

For example, many people think they either can or cannot draw. The ones who cannot draw probably at some point during their school life produced a nice drawing, happily scribbling away and as they finished, stood up and proudly showed it to their teacher and friends.

Possibly the response they received did not match their expectations and they were ridiculed or dismissed and received no positive feedbacks. Maybe the teacher innocently and not understanding the impact his words could have replied: ”Oh dear… you are not very artistic, you better stick to maths”.

This would have in most cases altered the child’s trust in their own creative genius and switched it into a new damaging belief . “I cannot draw”, “I am not creative” thus allowing a sense of shame around art expression that they would carry with them as part of their baggage. They would create such a strong sense of fear that they would switch their ‘creative brain’ off in favour of a highly intellectual approach to life and work, killing off their need to express creativity again.

Business owners love highly intellectual beings because it often goes hand in hand with high productivity, punctuality, great business acumen. The issue that is often dismissed is that lack of creativity does not allow us to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas or innovative ways to solve a problem.

Innovative business growth requires creative geniuses

Businesses that come to a limit, growth stop, or get caught up in not knowing which direction to take are often limited by all we mentioned in the previous paragraphs. The intellect is incapable of making decisions that come with too many variables. These decisions have to come from a place of knowing, a place of creativity, from inside.

Creative people need freedom from overwhelming thinking-based problems as for example

  • I need to get these projects in on time
  • I have 2 meetings that overlap – how can I be present at both
  • Why haven’t my staff turned up – what will I do
  • I can’t rely on my co-workers – I feel unsupported
  • My boss is chasing me again – I feel anxious
  • I need a budget but I don’t have one – how will I complete this

With a constant overwhelming pressure people living in their heads are just not productive.

Starting a business with a purpose

Starting a business with a purpose rather than just for financial gain creates a completely different work environment. Long term business success is a by-product of happy staff who are passionate about the business they work in and the type work they do. I strongly support the idea that people that operate primarily for financial gain do not have a sustainable passion for their work which will eventually lead to boredom, frustration and decline in productivity, damaging irreparably the financial goal they started with.

In other words, my view is that a business must possess an ultimate goal that is based on purpose and personal fulfilment of the individuals involved in the success of the company. This is why often we hear of successful business owner that have achieved financial freedom but their life is riddled with ill feelings caused by a sense of emptiness that often leads to depression and suicide. In my understanding of the workings of human mind and of the human experience I believe those people misjudged the direction of their focus and concentrated on an unsustainable source of pleasure that in the long run turned out to be damaging.

An effective leader creates leaders and not just employees

Maybe you can start to see a trend here. The passion and purpose passes down the line as true leaders create leaders and not just employees. They care about people, and their lives, have faith in their staff, train and nurture their abilities. They give trust and responsibility and allow for things to go wrong in the interest of growth and learning.

Within this environment you could find copious amounts of nurtured creativity and in such happier environment with clear scope for innovation, productivity will without a doubt be increased. As you can see if you follow this thread a by-product of all this is financial success. Of course, businesses are built in order to make money. We live in a society where money is not only a luxury but a necessity for survival. However, when to the desire of creating wealth we find passion within us and a higher purpose which is in us from birth it is easy to observe how things transform. It is as if we have given permission to be guided and therefore our effort is truly minimal but the outcome becomes magnificent.

If you serve your potential audience really powerfully, people want to buy your product or service, there is very little selling involved, the passion is passed down the line and business growth comes much easier.

An example of this type of environment is Google. While there are many businesses who dismiss the importance of the creative process and of bringing out the best in their employees, you can see the genius behind the design of Google’s offices. This environment invites creativity in its highest form. People work having fun and personal benefits and this creates the desire to spend quality time at work and enjoy what they are doing.

Would you rather work in a formal office where you must wear a suit all day, with your senior barking down orders at your, complaining that you have not completed a task in the time they believe fit or within a minute from your deadline or would you rather work in a fun environment that while it still has deadlines, meetings and projects, there is a much more fun element to it?  I dare anyone to say that Google is not one of the most creative, highly efficient and productive companies on the planet.

There are no exceptions to the creative rule, we are all born equal, no babies pop out, sit up and say ‘hey mum and dad, I am not creative’. Creativity is nurtured through spiritual connection with the universe. The only thing you need to know is that this is inside of all of us and therefore I would suggest that if you haven’t picked up a pen in a while, give it a go, turn ‘radio me’ down, let the critical inner thoughts pass and see what you can create.

The next time you need to grow, employ new people, pick up on those big projects, think about what it takes and what you really need. Consider the following:

  • Nurturing growth within your company
  • Auditing your employment process
    • How you employ people
    • What you look for
    • The person spec you’re searching for
    • What questions you ask in an interview
    • Do you follow up on what you promise people?
    • Do you create clear contracts with a personal touch?
    • Are your expectations realistic?
  • Having a good look at yourself and your limitations

There is so much more this is just the tip of the iceberg for this subject of course coaching can help you with all the above – but be careful if you take the lid off the can of worms, you can’t put it back on, and there may be a lot of change!