Many of you have heard me say that concepts often work on me, whether I want them to or not. My ego would like to claim that I’m working on them, but I have to admit that I often feel like I have no choice—some concepts just seem to wrestle with me until I feel like I’ve gotten my head around them enough to let them go.

This is how the DoKnowBe Tree came to be. I needed a model to help me understand myself, others, and leadership. This is also where several other concepts that we use in LEAD 24/7 came from: A Human System, Living Systems, our definition of value (perceived benefits over perceived costs), the Path to High and Low Impact, the Five Fingers of Trust, and still others.

The topic of this posting is one of those things that’s been working on me for several years (which has some irony to it as you’ll see in a bit). I don’t know if I have my head around it enough to be writing about it yet, but I’ll share my thoughts in case you find them interesting and helpful.

I assume most of you are aware of the concept of compound interest. You might remember when some financial-advisor type first taught you about the magic of time as you consider building a nest egg for your retirement. Many of us were told by older and wiser people that we should start saving money for retirement early in life because time can do magic with our savings.

Below is a simple example created using a compound interest calculator (just to make a point). If I invest $100 every month in savings and it grows 1% every month, it will grow over time per the following:

  • At ten years, my contribution is $12K and it’s worth is $23K (almost doubled)
  • At twenty years, my contribution is $24K and it’s worth is $100K (more that quadrupled)
  • At thirty years, my contribution is $36K and it’s worth to $353K (almost ten times more)

This concept of compound interest intrigued me when I first learned about it, and it still intrigues me today.

What has been working on me lately is the idea that, maybe, the same thing happens with our own personal and professional growth. It seems to me that our own growth compounds on itself, just like savings does. I wonder what more I would be capable of doing if I had been more committed to putting some significant effort into growing myself monthly, aiming for 1% growth per month, throughout my life.

I’ve heard my brother Ron say he reads something for his growth every day for at least a half hour. Imagine how his daily contribution of half an hour has compounded over many years.

If your pay somewhat represents the value you bring to the market place, imagine what would happen if you grew yourself at 1% per month? If your starting salary is $50,000—again a possible measure of the value you bring to the world—after ten years, your value could be measured by a similar increase in your salary. At 1% per month, you would realize the following:

  • Over ten years it would be $155K
  • Over twenty years it would be $482K
  • Over thirty years it would be $1,498K

Of course I’m not saying that your salary will grow at this rate if you grow 1% every month… but it might! I’m using this metaphor to explain what I think can happen to you, and to the value that you bring to the marketplace, your family, and your community, if you can keep plugging along and intentionally grow at 1% per month.

This means being 1% better at listening, at casting vision, at dealing with issues in a way that solves them while also building relationships, at creating new value, at leading yourself, and so on.

Imagine if a thousand leaders in West Michigan were to do this. Imagine what the investment would yield that over time.

One of the ways to really impact the world is through others. Leading an amazing team is a great opportunity to have real impact in the world. Imagine if a thousand leaders in West Michigan significantly impacted ten others for their monthly growth, maybe their direct reports, maybe their peers.

The best leaders I know are intentional about helping their team members grow.

This is our mission at Leading by DESIGN , to help a thousand of you significantly grow and to encourage you to help others grow. In just five short years we are starting to see this growth happen. Really, we are! And we are excited to think about what will happen over ten years, twenty years, and more!

Be great this week and seek to be intentional about your growth!

Image by jeff.balland. Used under Public Domain Mark 1.0.