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Creating Community Part 4 – Challenge to Change

October 17, 2016

Last week we dove into the topic of Sacrificial Service and the role it can play in building community. This week we will tackle what can be a stretching topic – the Challenge to Change.

Building community is all about growth; and growth most often involves stretching beyond our comfort zones.  Does everyone on your team expect to grow?  Are you constantly stretching your team and yourself to get better?  Have you challenged every member of your team to pursue growth?  A growth mindset can be a huge contributor to building community in your organization.

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  • Stay in the “stretch zone” – You can picture a bulls eye to help you understand how growth happens. The bulls-eye is your comfort zone; you spend most of your time consciously and unconsciously in this zone.  The outer ring is the danger zone; this is the place where you might be pushed in to doing something that is outside your expertise.  This is not advantageous for you or the team.  The middle zone is the stretch zone.  This is where you get pushed outside your comfort zone to try new things, staying clear of the unhealthy areas of the danger zone.  It takes time and skill to learn how to stay in the stretch zone.
  • Provide growth opportunities– You have to provide people opportunities to grow. These are opportunities to be stretched, try new things, and learn from their mistakes.  These might include opportunities to join cross-functional teams, stretch assignments, trainings and certifications, or simply taking over a project that is critical to the team’s success.
  • Maintain accountability – Once you give them opportunity, you must hold team members accountable for their own growth. Have regular check-ins, ask them what they are learning, and look with them at their results.
  • Offer adequate training – When time and money are in short supply, training tends to be one of the first things to go. Commit to giving training opportunities where needed, and make sure you plan for the time and budget that the training will require.

Status quo could rightfully be called stagnant quo (to what place, for which reason). This is reflected in the natural world around us. Everything in the world is either growing or dying; everything is on the way up or the way down.  Whether you look at a plant, an animal, or a human, there really is no stagnation or plateau.  Teams and organizations are no different; there is no neutral for your team.  Say “no” to status quo and have an expectation to grow.  Challenge your team to change.  Challenge them to get better.

The late Truett Cathy once said, “If we get better, our customers will demand that we get bigger.”  A focus on becoming the best you can be will bring your team together in ways you have never seen before and set success squarely in your path.