A Different Kind of Growth (Part 1)

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Many publications recognize companies who achieve rapid year-over-year increases in revenue with a “Fastest Growing” moniker.  But such growth can be fleeting. Less than 10% of the Inc.5000 Fastest Growing Companies in 2011 continued that recognition for five consecutive years. Of the top 25 that year, only SingleHop, a cloud hosting services provider, made the list in 2016 – and they came in at number 4953.

Our unique employee-centered vision at Andesa demands we strive for a different kind of growth. We are expected to create an environment which encourages and facilitates employees to develop and apply their business skills to the fullest, in order to achieve their full potential.

So to test our vision, I engaged with six employees who have progressed in their careers during their time at Andesa, including a few who have changed career paths. Their stories inspired me, and their advice encouraged me to create a two-part blog: This entry, Part 1, focuses on advice to employees new to their role in an organization. Part 2 will provide some counsel to leaders and managers as shared by employees who thrive on initiative and engagement.

The conversation with my teammates reminded me of one of my favorite Stephen Covey quotes: “Employers & business leaders need people who can think for themselves, who can take initiative and be the solution to problems.”  I loved chatting with my teammates about their growth.

Speaking of LOVE, the acronym may help remind you of their advice:

Look inward

Obsess over learning

Volunteer

Eliminate “Head Trash”

Look Inward:

For many of my colleagues, they recognized their growth was both a personal as well as a professional journey. They shared growth occurred by recognizing their passion and skills, while eliminating those things which were not advancing their talents. For some, Andesa was their first job in a professional setting, and they had to “mature” professionally. “As I grew personally, opportunities within Andesa grew for me.”  Others remarked that challenging times offered opportunity for growth and provided affirmation that the individual had grown.

Advice to employees:   Stay calm. As you grow, the pressure of increased responsibility will escalate.  Take time to collect yourself and focus. Understand professional growth is a journey, and it is important to reflect on your personal growth during your progress as well.

Obsess Over Learning:

Every story focused on learning as a key element in development.  But the conversations emphasized a sense of learning on steroids.  A high degree of self-motivation was evident in statements such as, “I don’t like to do the same things every day so I challenged myself to learn more,” or “it is more fun and fulfilling when I have to wrestle with a problem – I love the fight to gain knowledge.”  A common theme of a willingness to train others also emerged – “because people were willing to help me, I want to share my knowledge with the new staff.”

Advice to employees: Take notes. Feel comfortable asking questions (it is not a sign of weakness).  Assume your own responsibility for learning what you can. Pay it forward and train others – often the best way to gain deeper understanding is to teach someone what you have learned.

Do your job, but when provided the opportunity, you have to want to say “yes – choose me!”

Volunteer:

Be proactive in your growth. “I was applying my experience and took an interest in a project. It allowed me to utilize my talents and learn a lot.”  One has to be open and willing to new challenges – to have a desire to figure things out.  Often the personal and professional growth occurred because the company grew and the position evolved into greater responsibility.  Do your job, but when provided the opportunity, you have to want to say “yes – choose me!”

Advice to employees:  Take interest in what’s going on around you.  Do your job but be open to asking for more – to take on a problem your manager is having. When you challenge yourself, you can create opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Eliminate “Head Trash”:

Each of my colleagues shared anecdote upon anecdote of overcoming self-doubt as they travelled their growth journey.  I was struck by the consistency of the negative self-talk stories from a group of teammates who are progressing nicely along their career path and from whom you wouldn’t assume such uncertainty. Each offered the difficulty of overcoming fear – sometimes toward the challenge and expectations of the new opportunities, and in one case having the courage to have multiple conversations to convince their manager that the new opportunity was good for the organization.

Advice to employees:  Believe in yourself. If you are afforded the opportunity for growth, someone in the organization thinks you can handle it or you have demonstrated the capacity to solve the situation. Look at the challenge as personal growth – eliminate the negative voices in your head.

LOVE, love, loved this conversation.  I emerged from this encounter energized and encouraged, excited for what’s in store for my coworkers and confident Andesa continues to live into the culture we espouse. Andesa is blessed to have so many employees who care, who want to contribute and who desire to make a difference.  It is wonderful to have Jen, Patrick, Chad, Sarah, Colleen and Nick on our team and I look forward to their continued growth.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!! 

 

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