Growth Trap: I keep on kicking off projects to fix things in the business, and yet I end up putting all my effort into fixing the failing project, rather than getting the results I want.
Having spent 20 years in business consulting and looking at technology delivery, I’ve seen a number of challenged projects. Quite often businesses say the solution to a business problem is to put in place some technology. The package will fix the business issue. Yet the more I do technology, the more I see it as psychology.
The factors that stop success are most often human factors. It’s about a clear vision, knowing what you’re going to do, communicating with others, and dealing with personalities. In recent years technology companies have instilled a new mindset – an ‘agile’ mindset. The old way was driven by a need to control inputs. Know exactly what you’re going to do right at the front, do it, test it and ta-ha, it’s all fixed. Yet it didn’t work.
Sometime we get stuck. However hard we try, we don’t seem to get to that next level. It may be a level of closeness in relationships, or it might be getting the job or career move we want or it might be in growing our team or company.
George* was setting up a new company to deliver accounting services to small businesses. He was growing well and he was getting snowed under. He needed to recruit into his team. Intellectually he knew it because his capacity was stifling growth. Yet month after month he came back to his accountability group and no-one was recruited.
When we delved into the issue we could have investigated the process and sourcing of staff but his real growth trap was a personal fear. It was suddenly that he felt responsible for putting food on their table. That he was responsible for their livelihood and what if he couldn’t win the business?
This was a personal growth trap to a corporate growth problem.
John Brandshaw in his book, Healing the Shame that binds you, outlines a number of roles people play as children. If you are discovering you are still playing out that role, then perhaps these are a grow trap. For example, if you were the scapegoat in the family when things went wrong, do you still play that in the teams that you are with? If you were the peacemaker as a child, does that mean you’re not being assertive when doing deals, because you are trying to reduce conflict?