Is Growth Always Good?
There is a lot of talk about growth: the growth of the GNP, growth of revenues, growth of profits. Growth is good.
But in my consulting experience, I found that not all growth is positive. I suggest that the country of Montenegro, for instance, is growing to the detriment of its future. Its development is analogous to cancerous growth. Montenegro is a gorgeous country; it has a beautiful seaside, small romantic villages along the picturesque coastline, the only fjords south of Norway, and huge mountains close to the sea. You can go skiing and then swim in the Adriatic Sea just an hour or two later.
Investors are encouraged to go and build hotels to generate tourism. Construction is booming, but what’s happening? Roads are getting clogged. Infrastructure is failing. Drinkable water is scarce. With all their high rises owned by tourists, those overbuilt villages will be ghost towns for most of the year. They’ll be like Dubrovnik or Malaga, where only the old locals stay through winter They have a total population of six hundred thousand people but a workforce of only two hundred thousand. As they are short on workers, they have to import labor from abroad. They come, stay, get married and have children. Overtime it will change the composition of the population, which will likely create political and social problems.
Is that growth or cancer? The same phenomenon of unhealthy growth occurs in a company. An increase in revenues and profits does not mean success if the company is coming apart at the seams with problems in quality, financials, or human resources. We should always judge the health of the growth by the internal and external integration of the company. For sustainable success, if the system is internally disintegrating, reduce growth and pay attention to the health of the company by leading internal integration first.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes