What Are You Seeding In Your Business – Growth or Decline?

Being able to step away from the daily tasks of running your business and gaining a perspective on what you are seeding in that business is vital for enduring success. We often cannot see how our actions are impacting the performance of our business. You may be seeding growth, but you could also be planting the seeds of a toxic culture that will undermine your business at every turn.


Active Knowledge Question:

Do you recognise how your actions impact the performance of your business?



The prime task of any business leader or entrepreneur is to ensure the full potential of every person working within and with that business is brought to the forefront each and every day.

The enduring goal is to have the best, working with the best at their best. But note this is not elitism; rather this is releasing and lifting everyone’s full potential to the forefront, so they can all contribute that potential into the business. Everyone, no matter what role they may play in the business, has the right to be able to contribute their best.

Businesses are made to compete, and they compete around the customer value they are able to deliver to their customers in fulfilment of their needs. But this is not a customer value from yesterday; this is a value for today and especially tomorrow.

Your business must be competitively fit, in peak fitness, so it can perform at its optimal level every day. And rather than chasing competitors and their actions, you should be defining and setting customer value for tomorrow.

View performance through this lens and you will be on the path to setting an entirely new level of performance for your business.



Conceptually to ask, ‘what am I planting, seeding, in my business?’, is a great starting point to gain a handle on the impact of your actions on a business’s performance.

Are you planting the right people, attitudes, expectations, motives, goals, processes, rewards etc. in your business, which will result in exceptional performance? Or are you poisoning the very business that you are hoping will excel?

Think of your business not as a machine that you can program and which will follow your instructions without question, but rather view it as a living being that will only respond positively when fed the right food. It is after all populated by humans, and it is the combined talent and effort of those humans that form the core of your business’s competitiveness.

What you plant in your business commences with your words. Not only the words that you speak, write and even think into your business, but also the tone of your language. Do you speak with a sincerity that is believed, and in a manner that people find encouraging? Or do you bark orders and demand obedience, casting blame for failings and allocating rewards with favouritism?

Words have a power that many do not recognise; they have the power to create and power to destroy. They are firstly the words you speak to yourself, then the words spoken around you and from there, the words you speak to others. Take time out and listen to the words around you and ask, what reaction will these words seed?

The art of listening as a leader is an invaluable one. How would you answer the question, ‘what language is spoken in your business?’.

There is a particular language that businesses that are competitively fit use, and this is a language you should learn and adopt in your business if not already present.



Encouragement is the tool to feed and build up, whereas self-interest and fear are the killers that will undermine performance.

Regretfully, self-interest can be the default setting within many businesses where profit-first is seen as the purpose for a business’s existence. This can, in turn seed a view that individual success is evidenced through promotions, increases in remuneration, greater authority, a bigger office etc., all of which might led one to build their own empire.

These elements will quickly seed politics, short-termism and a bureaucracy that crushes competitiveness.

Motive grows out of purpose, and the right motive magnifies and compounds competitive strength whilst the wrong motive disperses and neutralises that strength.

How would you describe the purpose for which your business exists and the motive that flows from that purpose? A profit-first motive, which says, ‘we exist to make profit’, is the wrong motive.

Purpose should deliver meaning to and a focus on customer need and value. A purpose which everyone working towards may take pride in, and which will underpin the long-term success of your business.

Fulfilling customer need is the right purpose as it draws focus to that need, allows your business to become the best of the best in delivering value in fulfilling that need, and thereby outcompeting anyone else in your chosen marketplace. The motive becomes to compete better than anyone else, and if you do this well, great profits will be just one of the outcomes.


Maintenance and Growth

You have set a righteous purpose, one which underpins the long-term success of your business. A motive to outcompete is prevalent, and the language of the business encourages every individual person to contribute their best every single day.

Profitability is strong, growing and is being reinvested in the business. Everyone recognises and acknowledges that it is the combined talent and effort of every individual that underpins competitiveness and is the catalyst of the profits.

Self-interest, fear as a motivator, bureaucracy and empire-building are prohibited and blocked at every turn.

These basic elements arise from the workings of the competitive engine in your business, but that engine will only exist through worthy leadership.

The selection of worthy leaders is the starting point for seeding the success of your business, and essential to its continued growth. If you falter in the selection of your leaders, then self-interest will quickly take hold, and all the good that you have been seeking to sustain will disappear before your very eyes.

The reality of centripetal leadership means that your individual influence as a leader only extends so far and at which point you will need to appoint another worthy leader. If you cannot or do not appoint such a person, you will likely find your efforts being weakened.


Step away from your business, listen to the prevalent language used and ask what does this say about my business? Are we seeding growth, or are we undermining performance, competitiveness and each individual’s ability to contribute to our business’s success?

An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel