Without growth, companies, teams, leaders, and careers stagnate. Stagnation leads to hording, silos, distrust, conflict, and tension. Without a growth-provoking intervention, such stagnation quickly causes complacency, hording of resources, turnover, or worse yet, disengagement.

Disengaged employees not only fail to do their best work, but they actively share their negativity with colleagues and customers alike, sabotaging your reputation and halting growth.

To avoid the stench of stagnation, consider stepping up to the challenges associated with each the following 5 pitfalls to growth:

Failure to continue learning

“I don’t have time to read, listen, watch… to master a new skill, to learn about a new industry, or focus on building new relationships… I am busy!” In fairness, I get it—you are busy. And, considering your commitment to growth, here are a few questions to provoke clarity of direction.

Challenge: Ask yourself, “What am I (or my team) so busy striving to achieve, specifically? And, why does success matter to me?” Be honest with yourself before you move to the next question—“If I had extra time and plenty of resources, what would I want to learn about, who would I want to meet, and what event would I attend?”

Exposing yourself to new industries, topics, sports, and conferences leads to innovation, ideas, and interests that fuel passion, enthusiasm, and growth.

Refuse to share

The prevailing thought is—if I share what I know, I’ll be replaced by younger and cheaper labor. In truth, the more you share, the more trusted and respected you become. The more you share what you know, the more time you’ll have to keep advancing, making you even more valuable.

Challenge: Ask yourself, “What project could I bring others into right now, or in the next three months? Who needs to be introduced to whom? Who might be interested in learning and contributing to this project, or attending important meetings with me? What skills/experiences would I like to gain in the next six months, and how can I begin sharing what I know so that I have the time and energy for growth?

Failure to continuously communicate

“I told them the goal… why do they need constant reminders? I hired them to get the job done… they should focus on doing their job.” They should is a trap that kills enthusiasm and growth faster than any economic downturn ever could.

Challenge: Ask yourself, “Do I know my specific goal and why it matters to me? Do I authentically care about the goal? When was the last time I shared my passion, our progress and encouraged others to do the same? How do I keep my vision, enthusiasm, passion, direction, and progress out in the open consistently?”

Avoid difficult conversations

“I would rather get a root canal than have that conversation,” a senior executive at a Fortune 500 company said after I encouraged him to address a vastly underperforming senior leader with truth and accountability.

Joel Salatin of PolyFace Farms said, “Disruption is critical to growth.” This is true whether we’re talking about growing grass, livestock, relationships, or the bottom line.

Challenge: Ask yourself, “What conversation am I avoiding, and what are the costs associated? What are the positive (and negative) outcomes associated with having an open and honest conversation?”

Failure to pause/reflect

We don’t bat an eye at spending countless hours researching and figuring out how to use our new cell phone and all the awesome applications. We invest our time, money, and resources in getting the best gadgets on the planet, forgetting that we are our most valuable resource.

Imagine the difference you could make for yourself if you stopped to notice the moments you feel joyful or irritable. Such information could greatly aid your overall energy, enthusiasm and excitement for your work, your team, and your life.

Challenge: Open your calendar and ask yourself, “Where can I block off 20 minutes each day for silence/reflection?” No distractions. Be with yourself, journal about your thoughts, notice and watch as your life transforms in the coming weeks. Your 20-minute time block might shift from one day to the next, but the key is to do it every day.

When you intentionally put your focus on growth, challenging yourself to communicate, share and reflect, opportunities will continually present themselves, allowing not only for your growth, but for everyone around you, and your bottom line.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

NEW! Gain clarity on what’s preventing your growth, along with what will inspire it – get your Gearing for Greatness session Today: