Are you goal conscious or growth conscious? In this week’s episode, John Maxwell shares the difference between these two mindsets and how there is no finish line when it comes to leadership.
After John’s lesson, Mark Cole and Chris Goede discuss John’s lesson, how they apply these principles to their own leadership, and offer application to help you start the new year on the right foot.
Our BONUS resource for this episode is the “Goal Conscious vs Growth Conscious Worksheet,” which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.
Mark Cole: Happy new year, everyone. Welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. The podcast that adds value to leaders who multiply value to others. My name is Mark Cole and whether you're joining us on your favorite podcast app at maxwellpodcast.com or perhaps you're watching us on YouTube, we are excited to grow with you. This week we have an incredible lesson from John that is designed to help you jumpstart this year. We believe that this year has the potential to be our best one yet.
So John is going to teach us the importance of how to determine between goal consciousness and growth consciousness. Then my co-host Chris Goede and I will be back and we'll dive deeper into John's lesson and offer some application for you. If you would like to download our free Bonus Resource these are fill in the blank notes from John's lesson, go to maxwellpodcast.com/grow and click the Bonus Resource button. All right. That's it. Here we grow. Now here is John Maxwell.
John Maxwell: I saw this definition many, many years ago and I believe it with all of my heart happiness is growth. You show me a person that's growing I'll show you happy person. You show me an organization that's growing and I'll show you a happy organization. I mean, that's just the fact of life. And I thought I would take a moment and personalize this growth and just share with you my process of growth in my lifetime.
If you would go back before 1974, so if you go back about 30 years ago and before that time, the best way to term my growth would be called accidental growth. And in other words, I didn't grow on purpose. I didn't even know I was supposed to grow on purpose, but I loved people and I worked hard. And so there were things I learned. I kind of took it in snatches, but it was accidental type of growth.
But in 1974 when I sat down with Curt Kampmeier in the holiday in and he asked me if I had a personal growth plan, which I didn't, I didn't even know I was supposed to have one, I would take my second phase in my growth journey from accidental growth to what I would call purposeful growth. I realized that if I was going to really grow I was going to have to grow on purpose. That it couldn't be a hit and miss deal.
It certainly could not be something that just might happen to me. I was going to have to initiate and activate. Well, it was within a couple of months after saying I'm going to be purposeful in my growth, I'm going to grow on purpose that I went to Phase 3 because all of a sudden I realized that the growth that I was going to have would be personal. It would be personal growth. It would have to be me growing.
And I literally made my personal growth my personal mission. And in the next few years I began to see what happened to me as I grew as a person. I began to change. My organization began to really grow and I went from Phase 3 to personal growth, to Phase four, which I would call others growth. I began to be committed to helping other people grow until it would be from not only my personal growth was my personal mission, but your personal growth became my personal mission.
And that's when I began writing books. And that's when I began teaching lessons, helping other people learn this wonderful growth journey also. There's been one more phase in the growth journey for me. That is when I turned 40 all of a sudden I realized that I was growing personally and I was certainly teaching others and speaking at conferences helping them. But I realized that I wasn't strategic enough with my own team.
And it was at the age of 40 that the law of an inner circle of the 21 Irrefutable Laws which says those who are closest to you determine the level of your success. It was at that age that I said, I'm going to be committed to team growth. That I'm going to really count success not what I do or what even others that I teach do, but what can the team do together? That's when I began to understand that teamwork makes the dream work and I really became committed to what I call team growth.
Now, what I'm going to say to you for the next three minutes is literally vital for in your notes you can see that I have two columns. I have a column for people that are what I call goal conscious and I have a column for people that are what I call growth conscious. About three years ago I was doing a round table and I had about 15 people were in the room and they were spending all day with me.
And basically in the round tables there's a lot of give and take, a lot of Q&A and a very successful person out of Dallas that I've known for many, many years who's built a wonderful organization. In fact, if I gave you his name and I will not many of you would know of about him, even though he is not in your line of work. I'll call him Joe. Joe looked at me and said, "John, the last two years I've plateaued."
He said, "I can honestly say that I feel that I'm flat for the first time in many years, the last two years. Could you help me?" Because I knew him so well I jumped in quickly and said, "Yeah. I think I can, Joe." I said, "Let me ask you a question. Have you hit all of your goals?" And he looked at me and said, "Yeah. John I've hit every one of my goals." He said, "The organization is bigger than I ever anticipated to be.
We are reaching more people than we've ever anticipated reaching. We're bringing in more dollars than we ever anticipated bringing. To be honest with you I think I have reached all my goals." I said, "Joe, that's the problem. You're goal conscious instead of growth conscious." What I have discovered is that people that are goal conscious plateau more often and longer than people that are growth conscious.
Now, I put the two columns for teaching purposes so that I could be crystal clear on exactly what I'm talking about because it's not either or and I'm certainly not saying don't have goals. I have goals. You have goals. Nothing wrong with goals. But I am saying that there is something more important than setting goals. Let me explain it by illustrating the two columns.
You see if you're goal conscious the focus is on a destination. If I can get to this level, if I can just reach this number, if I can just have this position. Goal conscious people are almost always destination conscious where growth conscious people focus is on the journey. They see the big picture. They understand that to be successful it's a process and it's a journey.
Look in your left hand column. If you're goal conscious you will motivate people. When you're goal conscious, it's very motivational. If you put a goal in front of yourself or you put a goal in front of someone else, but let me tell you something. If you're growth conscious, that will mature your people. There's a maturity in a growth conscious mindset that is not evident in a goal conscious mindset.
Also, if you're goal conscious, goals are seasonal. In other words, you'll have a time, or a period, or a season in which you'll say I've got to get to the next level. I've got to do this. Where if you're growth conscious growth is lifelong. Growth isn't seasonal, it's not annual. It's lifelong. It's a journey. Now, what I have discovered is if you're goal conscious, it challenges people, but if you're growth conscious, that changes people.
Change occurs over the process, not in a moment, or at a destination, or a time, or an event. One more distinction. If you're goal conscious when the goal is reached, we plateau, but when you're growth conscious, we keep growing. In other words, if you're growth conscious when you hit your goal you keep on growing because the goal is just part of the journey.
It's not the end. In my book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership I talk about the law of process and the law of process says leaders develop daily, not in a day. That's what this growth conscious stuff is all about. You see. We overestimate the event and we underestimate the process always.
Mark Cole: Chris, welcome back, man. I'm glad to have you in the studio. I think this is our first YouTube version in the studio.
Chris Goede: In the studio.
Mark Cole: Yeah, man. You look good.
Chris Goede: Well, I appreciate that.
Mark Cole: You look good. You cleaned up nice.
Chris Goede: Just glad to be here. It's 2022 and I'm still here. So that's-
Mark Cole: That's good.
Chris Goede: It's a positive thing.
Mark Cole: Here we grow.
Chris Goede: That's right
Mark Cole: Hey, welcome back. John's lesson was incredible. And, Chris, as we jump into the lesson, I want to talk about what Jean Vanier said, he's a Catholic philosopher and he said growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness. And the whole time I'm listening to John's the beginning of a new year you and I we've grown a lot together and I'm glad to be launching 2022 with you ready to grow and learn some things together.
Chris Goede: Well, I think it's interesting because you said we've grown a lot together. I don't think we've had a choice. When you work at this environment oftentimes we talk about being in a leadership bubble around here and we take it for granted because with John and his mentoring of us and encouraging of us, again, we didn't have a choice to be able to do that.
And so I'm super excited to kind of talk about this with you and talk about the difference because so many people as leaders and organizations individually, they have goals, but they don't necessarily think about it from a growth standpoint. That goal mindset versus growth mindset. So let's kick it off this way.
Because when I think about lofty goals, you've given me lofty goals as one of your leaders, I've seen John give you even loftier goals to accomplish what's filtered down. And oftentimes when leaders are given lofty goals or put lofty goals out there, they get frustrated over this big lofty goal. And instead of looking at it as a growth process to get to that goal, they just look at it as a goal, which is frustrating versus begin thinking about how do I grow to that lofty goal?
So, again, I want to go back to you personally first. Let's start with you personally. You work for a guy that challenges you every single minute. I was going to say every day, but it's every minute, with lofty goals, lofty ideas, opportunities to add value to people. How do you personally receive those and stay on a growth process for yourself to be able to go after those?
Mark Cole: Well, I love the question and I love it in the context of this lesson because John obviously wants us in this lesson and you and I have worked with him for two decades. John wants us to be growth conscious. I mean, he has a preference here. He's goal conscious, growth conscious his preference. Let's just state it. If it's not clear to anybody watching or anybody listening, he wants you to be growth conscious.
Yet we do talk about numbers. One of my favorite lines is when I'm introducing John I said he sold 34 million copies of his books. How do we know? Because he's counted. Because he knows his numbers and we've laughed about that. Some of my most embarrassing moments is to give John an update and I give him the wrong update and he goes, no, no, no. I think the real to update is this one.
Chris Goede: He knows.
Mark Cole: How do you know? He knows his numbers. So do we run our business with numbers? Absolutely. Do we focus on objectives? I like to call them auto markers rather than goals, but do we focus on objectives that give indication of progress, and growth, and goals met? Yes.
But I've got to tell you, pursuing audacious goals in John Maxwell's environment for me personally is a lot easier than a pursuing goals perhaps for many of you watching today or listening because a lot of organizations they focus so much on goals that goals become more important than growth. And I've got to tell you, I've missed some goals. We can talk about some of my biggest mistakes and missing the book launch of Intentional Living, one of my greatest.
Chris Goede: I knew that [crosstalk 00:13:12].
Mark Cole: We can talk about all that and peaking of numbers, I lost $1.6 million with some bad decisions. We can talk about all that, but here's what I rest on and what I want you as a leader in this organization to rest on and what I want to challenge everybody watching, listening today. It is a lot easier to chase goals when you know growth is a greater objective than a goal.
Chris Goede: That's true.
Mark Cole: It's absolutely easier. So I have stretched to hit some big goals and actually hit some. I've stretched to hit some goals and to be honest, missed it, but very rarely do we spend time on missed goals as long as there is an obvious growth objective that's been hit.
Chris Goede: Yeah. And I often hear you say, hey, no problem. Tell me what you learn. It's okay if we miss the goal. Now listen, we're not in the business of missing goals, right? But when you do that question that leaders you should have for yourself, you should have for your team to show that you're a growth-minded leader or organization is, tell me what you learned. And John talks about this with evaluating your experiences.
He doesn't say the experiences are positive or negative. He says, evaluate all the experiences. And what I loved about what you just shared is that keeps you from being frustrated. We talk a lot about how do we perpetually learn? How do we be become a product of the product? How do we consume and grow and learn in a way that we're not stuck?
And one thing that I've learned personally is if I'm not growing I'm not being able to lead effectively and give proper mentoring or coaching. Can't give what you don't have. We talk about this. Now listen, sometimes if I'm just going to be transparent, it's starting a new year, let's just put it out there, I mean, I get tired of it sometimes, right? I don't want to listen to another, I'm not going to say podcast because you need to stay.
Mark Cole: Not say podcast.
Chris Goede: Not going to say podcast because you need to stay on this podcast and I'm so excited you're starting off the new year with us to do that. But what I find is sometimes I just want to check out and I do check out, right?
But then when I do check out and maybe you come to me and you need an idea or a thought or my team needs something I go, I got nothing for you versus if I'm continually growing I'm like, hey, this is what I heard the other day. This is what I learned this morning when I was listening to that book, whatever it was. And so I think that allows us to not get stuck as leaders.
Mark Cole: It does. And so let me, you did such a great job of nailing all of that down for me. One thing I just want to underscore that you just said, you are more likely to learn on a missed growth opportunity than you are a missed goal opportunity.
Because when we hit a goal we're so fixated on something tangible that when that tangible doesn't happen it shuts our emotional psyche down that we're not open to the lesson. But if we go in saying I'm going to grow, there is a mindset that happens to make us open for the lesson even if we missed the objective.
Chris Goede: That's right.
Mark Cole: You go in goal conscious. And John didn't even really mention that in this particular lesson, but I've heard him mention it before, you go into something goal conscious, it's likely that you miss the goal, you won't get a lesson. You go into something growth conscious, it's likely that you're going to get a lesson even if you miss the objective.
Chris Goede: Yeah. And building off what you just said, thought came to mind, wouldn't it also be true that by the time we get to that goal, at times it may even be outdated or obsolete, right? And if we're just focused on that, we're missing the whole point. Now, you and I, we're very passionate about this. It's the world of which we've grown up in.
But let's transition now from personally and let's talk about John, in the growth process, talks about team growth and he talks about others growth that he gave us in the outline that we have right here. Talk a little bit about as a leader, when it comes to leading our team and our organization, the things that you really focus on from a growth standpoint, making sure we are growing as an organization and we're not staying stagnant.
Mark Cole: Yeah. Back in December, we were diligently setting our budgets and our business plan objectives in place for year 2022 and here we are. I mean, we're folks in this. And so I'm thinking back right now to a conversation I had with one of our P&L owners. And we're talking through his vehicle of how he is planning for this year, for 2022. There was no comparative analysis on his budget at this particular phase in the budgeting.
And I asked him, I said, "Hey, how did we do in this line last year?" "Well, I'm not sure, but I can get that answer for you, Mark." Well, we're growing, we're projecting 28% revenue in this particular solutions group. How much of your cost are you going to absorb? Is that good revenue or is it bad revenue? What did we do last year according to revenue? Well, I'm not sure. Let me check here. I illustrate that without names very purposely. It's not you though, Chris Go. You can feel good about this.
I illustrate this for this reason right here to answer this question. I believe the greatest way to measure your business, now, this is going to freak some of you out, is based on growth, not on goals. I want to say this because it's really important. I believe hitting a small goal is worse than missing a big goal. Now, we may unpack that if we have time because I have worked alongside people that did not agree with me. It was an integrity issue.
Chris Goede: Well, and I've been frustrated with you in the past, if we're just being candid, when you come in and challenge us and it's absolutely.
Mark Cole: And we'll come back to that because I want to stay on this point of how do we manage our business in the John Maxwell enterprise. And from Day 1 of me running this organization 11 years ago, it's been on comparative analysis. Comparative analysis, here's what I mean. When I get a business plan from you, Chris, or somebody else on our team, I want to know how this compares to what we did last year in this particular business objective even when we're spending money, when we're hiring more people.
I want to know what our cost of goods sold was last year, compared to what we think they're going to be this year. Why? Because it creates one of our values, this is why we're so passionate about this, this is why I have the book right here for you. I'm going to talk about that in a minute. It's because I believe with the value of growth, we should always be focused on growth.
And John teaches goals will take care of themselves. Again, I'm not minimizing those of us that have to work to set goals and be goal minded. But we have learned, and we grew, me and you, our leadership team grew. Our company, from the day I took over as CEO till last year, we grew 783%. That's a big number. That's a big goal. We did that by focusing on growth. We focus on growth by comparative analysis to the same period last year, the same concept last year, the same business line.
So on any budget, I look at the budget and I want to know, is there a number compared to budget? Is there a number compared to performance last year? And is there a percentage of growth from last year to this year or a decrease of spending this year compared to last year? It's all on comparative analysis.
Chris Goede: I felt like I should have been taking notes right there to make sure that all of our meetings move forward out. But what I love what you said too there is it's so true because I think back to the last 18 months, no matter what your KPIs are, we're talking revenue numbers, different cogs, whatever your KPIs are, you should have these goals, whether they're lofty goals, whether they're small goals.
And what I was thinking about when you're talking about that, and I want you to unpack this a little bit for us is I was thinking about the last 18 months when we all had to throw our business plans out the window. And what you came to us and said is, hey, we value growth and growth is something that we're going to focus on. I'm going to throw out the comparatives and I want to see a small growth in something in your business month over month.
That's what I want to hear about. And I thought that was so important because it reengaged our team and go, well, we'll never get there to that goal point, right? And we got frustrated. You brought us out of that frustration and said, no, every single month I want growth of some kind.
It may not be what we're used to, it may be a different KPI, but I want you talking about growth. Talk a little bit about the importance of that when you got to be flexible, but then also dialing it back down and making sure that we are really focused on the small things with will then take care of the larger things in our budgets, our KPIs, whatever they might be.
Mark Cole: Yeah. So Chris, you and I have been a part of John's organization for longer than what you and I really want to admit, certainly before my 15-year-old daughter was born, before your daughter was born. Was Rylan born when you first started?
Chris Goede: He was not.
Mark Cole: He was not. So before kids?
Chris Goede: Yes, before kids.
Mark Cole: Okay. You and I started and there's something again that I promise you is consistent to us. We, if you're listening, I'm holding up the 15 Laws of Growth book. We value growth. Now, when I say we value growth, do we value growth or do we not? And so what happens back in March and April and May of 2020, back in COVID, we kept coming and reporting off of our numbers, Chris.
And it was like a funeral every time we came because we were trying to report off of something that was dead. Our business plans were dead and we kept coming trying to do it. And I went home that second meeting and I went, I can't do this again. I can't do it. I will lead through difficult times, I'll lead through it, but I can't be a part of an organization that is postmortem in everything that we're talking about. I can't do it.
So like you said, we threw that out and we began to highlight growth points. I'm going to pause right here, and to those of you viewing, I'm going to challenge you to go pick up this book, 15 Laws of Growth. For those of you that's listening, I'm going to challenge you to go to the podcast notes. We're going to put a link in there to go order the 15 Laws of Growth. In fact, we've got a discount, 15% off to celebrate January as growth month.
Chris Goede: Great book to start the year off of.
Mark Cole: It is. And it's a great book to start off with, if you've never read a Maxwell book. It's a great book to go back and remind yourself since it's January, because some of you have goals of losing weight. Can anybody relate to that with New Year's resolutions or the other things? I celebrate every last bit of that.
In fact, could stand to lose a few pounds myself, but what are you doing to grow your leadership effectiveness, your leadership influence? That question and a plan around answering that question can be found in this book, 15 Laws of Growth. Chris, when you and I over the last 20 years, one thing we know is this environment expects growth. I love doing these podcasts with you.
We get great feedback all the time, but I'm going to tell you one of the things I love about the last five, six years is thinking about the growth that we've been able to see in each other. Chris, for those of you that don't know, John started putting me on a stage to communicate when I was terrible, as Charles Barkley says, terrible.
Chris Goede: I was getting ready to say, where did that come from?
Mark Cole: I was terrible. And, Chris, every once in a while, I'll communicate to the team or I'll do something else and you'll come say, man, that was a really good communication. What you're really saying is you were really bad before. No, that's not really what you're saying.
Chris Goede: That's right. I've seen growth in you, Mark. I've seen growth in you.
Mark Cole: You really are highlighting growth. I do the same thing with you. Man, you think about the load you're carrying for our organization right now, you're much more than corporate solutions group leader. You're carrying some of these integrated merging acquisition that we're doing. Why? Because of growth.
We didn't set out a goal that said Chris is going to own that's this many merging and acquisition things that we're doing. We set out saying, Chris, can you grow? Can you find your leadership voice? Can you step up? Are you available? Let's go. And I'm watching that happen.
Chris Goede: I appreciate that. Thank you. Listen, we wanted to give you kind of just a snapshot to Mark's leadership in regards to personally, but then even in the team. And we're grateful that you're listening and we want to make sure that it resonates where you're at with your leadership. I'm going to throw it back to you to close. Before I do that though, I went back and one of my favorite books, not the favorite, is in addition to the Laws of Growth is John's The Leader's Greatest Return.
And I knew we were talking today a little bit to our listeners about a team growth in this growth process. And so John, as he does, spells out the word growth and then has a couple of statements. Let me just throw it back to you. Let me share these and then you can kind of wrap us up. John says this, when you're challenging a team to grow, do these following things. I just want to share it. Just spoke to me as I was reading it.
He said for G, he said, give them a growth environment. You need to lead them into a growth environment. It's what you challenge us and our organization for. The R, recognize each person's growth needs. You got to help them identify that.
You sit on the other side of their leadership, you need to be aware of that. He says in O, he says open up opportunities for them to grow. Doesn't mean you need to add an extra meeting to the calendar. It could be other opportunities where they join you in certain meetings or certain experiences. W, he says, walk with them in the challenging times.
Growth is not going to be easy. And I think about some of the challenging times that we've been through and as leaders have walked with me through that. Final two, he says in T says, teach them to learn from every experience. We talked a little bit about that earlier. And then finally for H, John says, help them to add value to their teammates.
And I love that he wraps it up with that because you and I know in our organization, one of the things we want to see is we want to see a replicatable, that's the right word, a little Southern Charles Black, of adding value and helping others grow. We want to see it in every part of our organization. So I hope this add value both from your personal and team journey. Then a little note from John, just about the importance of growth mindset versus goal mindset.
Mark Cole: We start every lesson, for those of you watching YouTube. But if you're not watching YouTube, go over there and check out. Chris, is a good looking dude. Don't get off the YouTube visual just because of my appearance. I'll try to bring Chris and Tracy in here to make it look a little bit better. But for those of you that are watching YouTube, I'm holding up our show notes.
And by the way, there are show notes at maxwellpodcast.com for you. But Jake provides for us a standout statement, everyone, which is really kind of the thesis of the lesson. And today's is really good because there's no finish line. Growth is an infinite game that you and I are on. Now, most of us are in a growth mindset in January. Got it. You've got your New Year's resolutions, perhaps me and Chris, you've just done your year end review and you're charged and you're ready to go like we are today.
But some of you may be starting 2022 off saying, hey, I think I'll just do good like 2021 or 2020, or I've been there, done that. I'm going to let the younger people kind of step up. Now, I'm going to challenge you, there is no finish line. And some of you today are listening to this with a ho hum, business as usual mindset because 2021, 2020 was so good or maybe 2021 and 2020 took so much out of you, you just don't even know where to grow.
I'm going to challenge you again, podcast listeners, pick up the book, 15 Laws of Growth. We're making it easy for you. We're going to take 15% off of that. I'm going to chat on you, podcast listeners, podcast viewers, you need to shut this lesson off in about two minutes, because I'm almost done. You need to shut it off. You need to challenge yourself, go get a plan for growth for you personally and for your leadership for the year 2022.
One of the things, Chris, that keeps you and I going is letters and comments from our listeners. And by the way, one of the things, Jake, I'm looking at Jake in our studio, one of the things I love about YouTube is there are a lot more comments on YouTube than those of you that are listening, you need to step up because our podcast viewers are killing it with you with comments.
But I want to share this comment, Chris, and I'm glad I'm sharing it with you today as my host because he mentions something that you're also a part of, and by the way, his name is Chris. So Chris says, I work in a group of schools in England. Hello, all you Englanders out there that talk much like me. We started this year running a leadership training course and I've been listening every day to this podcast. When he says every day, I'm like, wow, he's doing some catch up.
Chris Goede: That's right.
Mark Cole: Podcast and, Chris, the Executive Leadership podcast, which we will link to that in the show notes today because that's a podcast that Chris host, for those of you that are corporate leaders. Chris from England goes on and says, what you guys do and share is invaluable to me. I have connected so much with the content you are sharing.
I take notes every day in a notebook and reflect throughout the day on how it applies to our setting and incorporating the teachings in my sessions. You are truly adding value to myself, but I'm endeavoring to pass this along and share this with others. I'm sharing it here in our school system and we do not have enough leaders in the school system. Guess what, Chris, neither does any other company or organization that we work with.
But as a result of sharing and training, we end up with leaders who lead from their position Level 1, as they climb the ladder, they exhibit more and more traits of secure leadership. I'm hoping that what I'm offering, with the help of your teachings at the John Maxwell Company, can have an impact on the growth and improve the leadership culture that we have.
Chris Goede: That's awesome.
Mark Cole: Now, we can go home today because that's what it's all about.
Chris Goede: That's awesome.
Mark Cole: So if you're listening today, if you're viewing today, please leave us a note. Tell us how, one, we can get better. We don't want just back slaps. We want but kicks as well. We want to know how we can get better and serve you better. If you haven't picked up 15 Laws of Growth, go pick it up. We're going to discount it for you.
If you already have it, get a plan of growth because this year I want all of us to look back on January and say, we have grown and we've grown because of this podcast. Thank you for joining us today. Chris Goede, thank you. John Maxwell, as always thank you. We look forward to seeing you next week. Until then let's lead.