“Growth” has been a good word in the business world in the past.
Growing a business is a good thing. That’s been the ultimate goal – to grow the company year after year for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Lately, however, I think the focus on growth has been taken out of context a bit.
I think it is possible for growth to become too much of a focus for an entrepreneur and their team.
As a result, the push for growth comes at the expense of other areas of the business and in the long run that can lead to the downfall of the business.
There is a word I’ve been thinking about lately that I think at least for the short-term can lead to better results.
Improvement As The Focus
One definition for improvement is to “make or become better”.
I like that definition. I think it has a broader focus on the vision for a business than the bottom line.
I like bottom line thinking. Profit allows a business to function and to provide for the future of all stakeholders. It’s necessary, but I think the focus has been too much on the bottom line in the short-term while compromising the future of the bottom line.
And that’s where I think a focus on improvement can help.
Improvement is about improving all aspects of the business.
When the business as a whole is improving then the bottom line will get better, but so will the culture of the business and the individuals within the business.
Better Everything Is Better For Everyone
It’s football season in the US and you’ll often hear NFL coaches and players talk about improvement. They want to improve on everything they’re doing each week of the season. That includes each person on the team from scouts to coaches to players.
After each week, the focus shifts to the next week and ways the team can improve or get better. Each week there is focus on the fundamentals.
Players talk about improving themselves so that they can do their part to improve the team. There is a focus on the team and how an improved team is good for all stakeholders including the players. A suffering team is not good even for the best player on that team. So each player looks at doing what they can do to improve the team and the coaches do the same.
Businesses are similar.
Growth has become about doing whatever possible to grow the bottom line as fast as possible. I don’t think that’s always been the case, but improvement is more about making sure that aspects of the business aren’t overlooked for the sake of short-term growth.
It’s each person looking at how they can improve themselves and the business because that is good for everyone.
Improvement As A Vision
I think Improvement is a good part of a company culture and vision. Growth has been a good focus in the past, but now I think it’s gotten taken out of context to mean growth at all costs as fast as possible.
Until that changes, Improvement is a good substitute. They really mean the same thing or something very similar, but I like the idea of everybody in the organization working to improve as individuals while maintaining for a constant outlook of improving the organization.
And that’s with the understanding that improvement is not a straight upward line. There are times when you make strides, but also times when you fall back. And that’s normal.
But with the focus always on improvement everything can fall into place including the bottom line especially in the long run.