Are you planting the right SEED for growth?

SEED pictureGROWTH… it’s the desire of every business and non-profit.  It’s what fuels progress, expands opportunity & inspires people.  It’s what creates sustainability in an organization and wins the day versus competition.  And, it’s at the top of the list of goals for leaders around the world each year.

Now, if setting goals were as easy as achieving them, growth would be a slam-dunk for our organizations.  But unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Research consistently shows that 70-90% of all business plans fail to achieve desired outcomes.  That means on average, you can expect only a 1 in 5 chance that your efforts will be successful!   Not only are those disappointing odds, but they have even more disappointing impacts.

As leaders, how can we increase this probability?

In my previous post, “HARVEST TIME…”, I highlighted 5 key lessons about achieving growth in nature that can be leveraged in business.  Ultimately, the most significant lesson every leader must learn is this one:

“You reap what you sow”

That means, if you want to increase the probability of achieving the growth you want, you must plant the right SEED upfront.

The “right SEED”

But what is the “right SEED”?  In nature it’s pretty clear.  If you want tomatoes, you plant tomato seeds.  If you want corn, you plant corn seeds and so-on.  But in business there is a lot of confusion around this question.  Leaders are faced with wide variety of choices in how they plant for success, and at the same time many don’t even realize that’s what they’re doing.  Unfortunately, at harvest time when the fruit of their efforts doesn’t measure up, it’s too late to go back.

In my 25+ years leading growth initiatives, I struggled with this as well.  There were all kinds of tools and techniques, “fad” theories and consulting methodologies, but all they did was leave my head spinning.  Instead, I found myself looking for a simple, but flexible framework to guide me.

What emerged was what I’ve found to be the “optimal SEED” required for growth in any organization.  It contains 4 key parts:

SEED Framework: 

  •       S – Setting Your Goals to ensure that you and your organization have clear direction and alignment on where you’re going.
  •       E – Evaluating Your Market Potential to provide context to maximize opportunity and minimize risk from external factors.
  •       E – Exploring Strategic Alternatives to enable you to test-drive multiple options and models before investing in them.
  •       D – Deploying Resources to ensure the right investment in resources, execution and performance management.

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “These aren’t anything new!” and you would be right — they aren’t!  Each of these 4 parts have become buzz-words that are talked about day after day in businesses and blog posts around the world.  But at the same time, day after day, I see business struggling with growth simply because they don’t really understand how to execute on 1 or more of these key areas.

In using this framework, I have consistently found when each of these 4 key parts are planted effectively by leadership, the probability of success is improved dramatically and outcomes are maximized.


Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more details on each part of the SEED framework to explain how I use it and share some examples.  I also look forward to hearing your experiences and exchanging feedback as well.

In the meantime, ask yourself this question:

 Would I like to know what the probability of success for my organization is right now? 

If the answer is YES, I have created a FREE “SEED Self-Assessment” tool for you.  Simply click on the picture below to take a short assessment that will both determine the strength of the SEED you’re planting and point you to areas for improvement.

Screenshot 2015-10-20 13.19.03



QUESTION: Based on the fruit you see in your organization, how strong is the SEED leadership is planting?  How do you deal with the weeds that crop up? Share your experiences & answers with me below or on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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If you would like help in planting the right SEED for growth in your organization, please contact Jill for more information.  Also, check out our website to see more about our services and successes.Title




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