Five Growth Tenets

Defining growth tenets help a company focus on what is important and communicate that focus to the team. Each company should adopt their own customized tenets based on the needs of the company.

I use the word tenets, as I think it is the perfect emphasis on beliefs but a more appropriate term for business.

Clearly define the idea: What is the the business offering or product. Clearly defined without ambiguity,

Define what success looks like: Too often success is very abiguous, something like “we want to be the leader.” But success needs to be defined in near term steps so that all of the team can clearly understand what the company is measuring as success.

Who is the talent that is needed: It all comes down to people and building the team. Having a great team that is committed and empowered is the essential element to success.

Encourage improvising and creativity. Apply creative thinking to arrive at business solutions to the multitude of problems, barriers and market shifts. One of the skills that we work on developing is improvising. The core notion of improvising is that individuals and teams learn to perform at a more creative and effective level as they leverage core skills but achieve higher performance.

Build a culture of implement and iterate: We are not big fans of the term “fail fast” for two reasons. One, most companies who say “fail fast” don’t really embrace failure. Second, taking an idea on a journey is rarely a progression of failures. Often times its a progression of implementations when it is 80% right or 60% right. Rarely, in our experience is the progression complete failure. A culture of implement and iterate requires a culture that is supportive, transparent and truly believes in learning. Clearly today’s marketplace requires this type of agility.


Several years ago I came to the realization that improvising was a skill that had allowed me to be more creative and successful in both my personal and professional life. Improvising is the ability to go beyond basic skills and boldly find new directions and solutions. Improvising breaths new life into old situations. Improvising is often time the difference between an ok result and a stellar result.

I have been a professional sax player most of my life. As I developed my business skills, I realized that I was applying many skills to business that I had learned in music. Over the years I had the opportunity to perform with many musicians at the top of their game (name drop), and there were many aspects to their approach to music that were common. And applying improvising was a consistent to the greatest musicians whether their genre is jazz, classical, pop, latin or xx.

But improvising applies to many situations. For example, in a business presentation, the most effective speaker is often the speaker that deviates from the script and responds to the audience with humor or a story or a line that creates a connection to the audience. Martin Luther’s Famous speech, I have a dream, was powerful in part because of his great ability to improvise. The inspirational line, I have a dream, was not part of the script.

Bringing the astronauts of Apollo 13 home safely was a group of people improvising.

I have seen over the years that successful people excel at improvising. They are able to adjust to the moment reading to the present in a manner that result in optimal outcomes. Improvising occurs at the the intersection of creativity, preparation, practice and being in the moment (flow).

Improvising skills can be applied in professional and personal situations to create more successful outcomes. In 1:1 interactions, in creating, in team settings, in presentations.

Improvising is an important aspect of creating success every day. Our personal and professional lives continue to be more dynamic year-by-year. Changes and especially daily changes become more of a daily need to navigate complexity. Doing it the way we’ve always done it doesn’t work in today’s world. Situations today require constant improvising as we figure out what the right notes are play.