“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” –James Cash Penney
Google, Facebook, Disney, and Starbucks … Sheryl Sandberg has seen her name on the letterhead of all of these enterprises. From a management consultant to the chief operating officer, Sandberg has no doubt received guidance from some of the most innovative business thinkers of our generation, and one piece of advice she received stands apart from the crowd. When offered a vice president slot at Google in 2001, Sandberg was on the fence about accepting the offer. Google was still the new kid on the internet block, and Sandberg wasn’t sure which way the wind would blow for the company. To counter Sandberg’s hesitation, then Google CEO Eric Schmidt is reported to have said, “Stop being an idiot. All that matters is growth.”
In Schmidt’s words, Sandberg saw Google and her potential role within the company in a new light. Technology was a growth industry, and that was an attraction, but Sandberg translated Schmidt’s admonition to a personal level. The best opportunities are not always with blue chip companies who are set in their ways. Accepting positions, regardless of the company, that allow you to grow perspectives, skills, and confidence is where the real personal value is derived. Taking Schmidt’s words to heart has served Sandberg well, and the same message can serve you.
Growing is a decision that takes active participation at this moment. The only growth that happens when we are inactive is to the weeds around you. The longer you wait for the right time or for a peach of an opportunity, the more likely you settle into patterns of doubt and negative inner monologues. The myriad couldas and shouldas become the weeds that eventually choke the desire for growth out of you. All it takes is one step to kickstart your appetite for growth. Reading an article, trying a new recipe, or learning a software package … anything that reminds you that growth is possible do it! Eventually, you’ll grow into spaces you never dreamed possible, and it all starts with a decision.
Stop Being an Idiot: Accelerators
- Where have you become stagnate in your personal life, your professional life, or otherwise?
- What’s one step you can take right now that will put you on the road to growth?
- Once you take that step and see the benefits, parlay that into the other areas of your life.
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.