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Building a Culture of Growth

By: Rick Gossett

 

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The right company culture can be a major factor in influencing the growth of your business. In addition to formal organizational structures, the informal organization provided by your culture influences the direction of any business.

A culture that encourages and rewards growth can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you build an organization, the right emphases and values can be a strong factor for growth. It requires every member of the team, from top to bottom, to buy into the right principles and beliefs.

First, you need strong leadership. A successful growth-oriented culture requires discipline and focus, and those come from leaders who are able to communicate a clear vision to everyone on the team and keep them on the same page. Everyone who is in a position of leadership in the business should be fully integrated into the larger corporate culture, and drive development in any part of the business in tandem with every other part. They should both lead by example and incentivize innovation in others.

Next, you should build a culture that specifically emphasizes growth and innovation. If you reward a particular behavior, you will get more of that behavior. If you ignore or penalize a behavior, you will get less of it. That is the insight of the famous psychologist B.F. Skinner. If you reward innovative behavior, actions that lead toward growth and further development, then that will encourage your team members to engage in more of that kind of behavior. That kind of reinforcement will spur positive action and foster an environment where everyone is thinking about ways to encourage growth.

Finally, make sure you never forget your values. Your values and your principles express who you are. For any growth to be sustainable, it must be built upon those values, must be an expression of those values—who you are and who you want to be. Growth that is built apart from your principles lacks a strong foundation and is susceptible to collapse. So to encourage sustainable growth, make sure your values and principles are firmly entrenched with every member of your organization. Everyone should have those values in mind when they make decisions and as they pursue opportunities for real growth.

Published: December 21, 2012
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Rick Gossett

As COO of Tarkenton Companies for more than 20 years, Rick has been responsible for business software development, unique partnerships, business educational content and consulting, and more. Rick was the originator of Tarkenton Companies’s consulting service and initially handled all of the questions himself. Prior to joining Tarkenton Companies, Rick owned and operated a private practice as a CPA. Prior to that, he was a Senior Manager at Pannell Kerr Forster in tax and audit, as well as Principal in Ernst & Young's small business advisory group.

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