Growth as a Perception
Karthik Shahani
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
What is growth? People at various positions and phases in their lives have different connotations to it. Is growth remunerative, intellectual or designation-driven? Or is it all rolled into one.

Considering the high rate of attrition today, it has become very challenging to retain good talent. Most exit interviews start and end with the fact that the new assignment provides great growth opportunities. This is fine as long as growth is interpreted correctly.
In my opinion, growth is an intrinsic quality and it revolves around development of your skill and experience. The high level of specialization translates into efficiency; this is also leading to a breakdown of the traditional layers of hierarchy. Today’s organization works on a rather flat and matrix structure. Growth here is – ‘what more can you do’ over the ability to perform your job at the highest level of efficiency.

The growth then is ‘Have you developed your skill to the level that you could be a role model?’ If so then you are ready for the next level. The skill sets for a job function would be the same but the level of expertise would differentiate between a manager and a senior manager.

How does one nurture growth? For leaders it is imperative to be able to have a candid discussion with an individual from the team and based on the skill set have a candid discussion around the skill level. It only then you can measure growth and be able to provide the path to the next level.

Growth of a leader:
What are the qualities of a leader? It is the ability to have a vision and the skill to execute it. It is not necessary that all successful leaders are born with this quality, or are people who have worked at large organizations only. It is a matter of developing the skill of understanding good business practices, being consistent, being a role model and above all having a high level of ethics and integrity.

Growth in Mid Management
Most people measure this based on the designation that they carry on their visiting cards, the number of people reporting to them, the revenue / turnover that they manage. However the base criterion for this is not the level of education qualification, years of experience or where you have worked before. These are only yardsticks for an interview. The critical qualities are maturity to understand role-specific skills, ability to think out of the box, perform a high level of due diligence in every part of the job and be perseverant and assertive.

In all my years of experience, I have come to understand that each job is like a grade / class in a school. You graduate to the next level based on your experiences there. Hence always take your time to decide the next move, it should be based where you can develop your next level of skill and not on where you are going to make more money or manage more people.

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