Today’s business environment is characterized by change, challenge, and opportunity. Leaders need positive and consistent results as employees seek meaningful contribution and engagement. The GROW model, originally developed by Sir John Whitmore, offers a simple and highly effective framework for bringing the world of results and engagement together. Whether dealing with a problem or shaping a vision, GROW provides a way for leaders and managers to build capacity in your people andyour business.
The GROW model offers just the right blend of structure and process, enabling people to tackle their most difficult challenges, or their everyday activities. It is also a process for both logically and creatively exploring goals, reality, options, obstacles, and your way forward.
The order of the process is important. For example, exploring your reality or obstacles before defining your goal fosters negative thinking and unnecessary constraints. Having a clear and exciting goal up front, allows you to focus on only those things that are relevant to your purpose. Let’s briefly examine each component of the GROW model.
Journeys by their nature imply a starting point, a destination, and a route in between
G is for Goal — What are we trying to accomplish? What results do we need? Why is this important?
Goals offer a starting point, or in the words of Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.” Clear goals provide direction for the change journey and mark the finish line for success. Effective goals have been described as being SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time dimensioned). While these criteria are important, I would suggest that truly effective goals are one’s that draw you in and compel you forward. They pull you toward an exciting vision, instead of pushing you from behind to check off disconnected activities.
R is for Reality — Where are we now? What are the issues and perspectives influencing the current state?
Journeys by their nature imply a starting point, a destination, and a route in between. The goal defines our destination while reality highlights where we are now. Being clear about the current reality allows you to know where you are relative to your goal — are you close or far, is it a clear path or one filled with obstacles. The better we are able to face our current reality with clarity and veracity, the more effectively we can design plans to bring about the change we seek. While perspectives and obstacles can play a role in defining your reality, it’s important to remain grounded in the facts — just the facts!
Understanding your reality can be defined through measures, scorecards, surveys, assessments, and other tools. The current reality can be as simple as where are we now on a scale of 1 to 10, and defining what drives that score. The objective at this stage is to get crystal clear about where you at this moment in relation to your ultimate objective — the goal.
Goals elevate your thinking to new opportunities and enlightened thinking, while your current reality keeps you grounded on the issues you need to address and the challenges to overcome. Both levels of thinking are essential to moving your performance forward.
If there were no obstacles, everyone would achieve their goals
O is for Obstacles & Options What can get in the way? What are the alternatives we can choose from?
What gets in the way of accomplishing your goals? Obstacles! Every project, initiative, idea, or goal must find a way to get past the ever present obstacles that hold you back. If there were no obstacles, everyone would achieve their goals. What’s important at this stage is to clearly identify the obstacles . Break the obstacles down into manageable pieces and then tackle them one-by-one. Think in terms of hunks, chunks, and bites.
You know where you are going, where you are at, and whats in the way. Now it’s time to explore the routes, options, and choices you have for arriving at your destination. Get creative! Allow yourself to look at solutions from different perspectives, challenge assumptions, and paint on a fresh canvas. Take inventory of your strengths and what has contributed to your success in the past. Ask yourself if these strengths can be leveraged, or if new skills and resources are in order. After exploring the possible options, choose the one that gives you the best chance of success and move forward with conviction.
W is for Way Forward & Will What is the best path forward to your goal? How will you stay motivated to sustain the journey?
This stage of the GROW model focuses on creating an effective action plan and executing that plan with conviction. If you have done the previous steps well, the path forward becomes smoother and achievable. By clearly defining the goal, getting real about where you are at, and understanding the obstacles and options, you pave the way for success. As you build the way forward, select actionable steps, create accountabilities, and select milestone markers that will help keep you on track.
As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Clear and challenging goals, grounded in reality, enlightened by options, with a defined path forward fuel the will to achieve. Commitment to specific actions leading to an important goal, creates a sense of personal accountability. That helps individuals and teams stay on track and overcome the challenges that will surely present themselves along the way.
Just as the sun, water, and soil provide essential nutrients for sustaining life, the elements of the GROW model offer key ingredients for accomplishing what matters most. With ideas as the seeds, leaders can create a constructive environment for results and engagement, by embracing a simple model to GROW their business and their people.