These 7 words kill GROWTH. You’ve probably heard someone say this at some point in your career. Hearing these words makes me cringe like the sound of a fork scraping on plate. Unfortunately, many companies embrace this philosophy. Companies may not come right out and say these words, but they say it in different ways. I call this the “Fishbowl Syndrome.”

A goldfish will only grow to the size of its environment, right? No. That’s a MYTH. Here’s what really happens.

If your goldfish doesn’t have enough space to grow to his full size, he will likely die before you notice that the environment is not large enough. If he happens to survive, he will probably have stunted growth, deformities and problems with scales and skin. Neither situation is good.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

It is now believed that keeping a goldfish in a bowl is no longer adequate to keep him alive. How many more goldfish will die because America falls in line with the “We’ve always kept goldfish in a bowl” mentality? The atrocity has to stop.

In order for a goldfish to grow, it needs ample space, a healthy environment, oxygen and food. The same comparison can be made with an employee in a company’s environment. To promote employee growth, follow these necessities.

We Have Always Done It This Way

SPACE: Human beings desire freedom. Just look at history. We’re not robots. Corporate America needs to encourage more innovation and fewer bobble heads. Companies need to create a culture and an environment that allows employee engagement. It doesn’t matter what industry or field. Does your company welcome innovative ideas from employees?

HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: Culture and environment is created from the top. Often times ego gets in the way of creating a positive work culture. One of the best leadership qualities is to be humble. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.  Does your company have great team chemistry or does your company have “it’s my way or the highway” mentality? When your best employees become silent is when you know you have an unhealthy work environment.

OXYGEN: Don’t suffocate your employees with micromanagement. Often times, management will resort to micromanagement when the results aren’t up to par. It’s almost a default mechanism—a panic move. Take a deep breath and get feedback from your team. Ask questions and listen.

FOOD: Does your company provide training and coaching? I’ve heard CEO’s say that training is a “luxury.” Training is not a one-time event—it’s ongoing followed by coaching and developing a team. A leader provides the tools and resources for them to become successful.

So in conclusion, employees need to grow—individually and professionally. Corporate America, eliminate “We Have Always Done It This Way” from your vocabulary. Don’t create a fishbowl environment.


Greg Hahn

Greg Hahn is known for entrepreneurial vision and translating vision into revenue generation and productivity, thriving in a diverse and fast-paced executive environment. Throughout his sales management career, he has led several sales teams toward positive growth. His most recent accomplishment was with The Blue Book Network. In just two years, he was able to reverse an under performing region to one of the top regions in the company in 2015. Greg specializes in online marketing including website consulting, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.

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