It came to me as a revelation recently when engaged with a customer on how trivially we treat the word “Growth”. The same evening, I was mindlessly watching a show on television when the Ford commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=92bc2AwzJbM played and captivated me. This has since become my inspiration to articulate this edition of my blog with an illustrative example.
“Grow” we all do from the time we are born. But the key to that growth is consciousness. Those of us who grow as human beings focus as much on our inner self as we do to our outer self. I guess the same applies to every form of growth in every living being on this planet. If a business organization is part of that living space, it has to necessarily adapt to the same laws of growth, isn’t it?
The context of the discussion with my customer was transformation. In the case of the human body, anything that relates to physical or external requires physical energy while anything that relates to metaphysical requires spiritual (virtual) energy. However, both demand a consciousness to not only go forward but to go further. But the fact of the matter is, while we all recognize the forward part; we fall behind on the further part. This is true for our personal as well as organizational self.
This discussion with my customer manifested itself because I was emphatic about the fact that Transformation comes before Innovation and that, both are necessary as the Yin and the Yang of the phenomena called Growth. Ask any athlete and they will tell you that as much as they train physically, they need to train mentally as well. The more you gain fame and fortune, the more mental training is required to stay focused as the physical attributes somehow lend themselves to the context of your presence more than the metaphysical.
Transformation is therefore a continuous metaphysical process which manifests itself physically as Innovation; or simply action that originates from the metadata of the metaphysical. And unless one engages this Physical and Spiritual (Virtual) Transformation, growth is elusive in its truest sense. While we may advance in age and shape, if we are not healthy internally, we may suffer from several problems that the physical body may not convey to an onlooker until we die someday.
Innovation then is action which emerges from metadata or the collective consciousness of an enterprise that is focused on the context of growth and is able to pick up different strands of thought at different points of time to make a cohesive physical force at any given point in time; continuously and concurrently to business as usual. Such a conscious growth will always be joyous as it is shared and celebrated. While the architects of the modern enterprise have resigned to the ‘80 – 20 rule’ of Innovators versus conformists, I have always argued that the effort of the enterprise must be to find a way to motivate a sizable number of the 80 gang to move into the 20 gang. And this must be a conscious effort on the part of the enterprise leadership. In order to do this, the leadership must therefore have the context and a powerful narrative to support the context. Then the means or the resources will follow.
How many organizations and leaders in the world today are “Consciously” embarking on Transformation even as they mouth the slogan of Innovation fashionably? Does it not bother them that they will be found wanting in delivering the promise of Innovation without attending to the realities of Transformation? Initiatives for Transformation cannot be discrete consulting engagements. There must be a continuous engagement within the enterprise; transforming the capabilities of the organization to meet the challenges of evolutionary change and therefore focusing on getting things done.
The challenge here is to understand that Innovating and Competing are not one and the same. The former seeks to set the wheel for furthering the cause of business while the latter facilitates the forward movement. Innovation demands a spiritual inner transformation within an enterprise which is achieved by a greater percentage of the organization participating in contributing to a context of growth. On the other hand competing defines how a unified enterprise progresses to an agreed vision of performance. The former addresses the potential while the latter addresses the performance. Bridging the gap between Potential and Performance is what Growing is all about.