Growth vs. Performance

By Jennifer Eng

A recent Harvard Business Review article makes the case for leaders to focus on building cultures of growth within their organizations instead of fixating solely on high performance. What makes a growth culture different? A growth culture offers an environment where it is safe to fail and learn from mistakes. There should also be a heavy focus on continuous learning through “inquiry, curiosity and transparency,” and continuous feedback “up, down, and across the organization” with the commitment of helping others improve and grow. In contrast to a performance-driven culture where results are key, a growth culture also regards failure as an opportunity for learning and improving and both challenges and nurtures its members. Perhaps the greatest difference between growth and performance cultures can be summed up in two questions: “A performance culture asks, ‘How much energy can we mobilize?’ and the answer is only a finite amount. A growth culture asks, ‘How much energy can we liberate?’ and the answer is infinite.”

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