When I hear the word ‘growth’, nature is the first thing that comes to my mind. But then I began to ponder the similarities and differences between growth in nature and growth in business. My first realisation is that things automatically grow when they’re in the right environment. It’s organic and organised, and while it appears to be random, growth in the natural environment has order. Plants, trees, animals, they all grow, but why? Because growth is pre-programmed in the DNA of all living organisms, and we don’t need to be biologists to know that!
But in business, the pre-programming element of growth is not there. You have to plan your programme for growth in the business world. And I think the interesting thing is that nature has evolved over the millennia through all these tiny manipulations and alterations in genetic traits that enable species to continue to survive. And the fundamental difference when you’re not a living organism is that you need to create your own program and adapt as you go.
Just as in nature, there are conditions that you need for growth. Only once the conditions are right for plants and animals to get food, light, water and a habitat can life begin to grow – and your business needs all of that too. We just have to be a little smarter about it, because there’s no waiting for chance around here. We have to make the conditions, we have to make the program, and we have to realise when it’s time to adapt and evolve too.
And in business, one of the very first conditions you need are great people – the most fundamental ingredient for growth. You also need to have an open mind to change, because really, nothing can grow without change. Perhaps that’s the only thing we are pre-programmed with, to know that things are going to change if they’re going to grow, and that we have to be prepared to roll with it. Because the funny thing is; change creates growth, and growth creates change. There’ll be change that is thrust upon you from the environment – government changes, financial meltdowns – then there’ll be planned change, which is what results in growth – how you react to that, and the decisions you make about your course of action that will determine the fate, and survival, of your business.