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Growing Pains

growing pains
Water being added to the mixer containing refractory materials

When I was in the 2nd grade, my legs would hurt so bad from growing pains that my mom would have to rub them so I could fall asleep at night. Personal growth hurts whether it is physical or emotional pain. When you are learning something new, it is uncomfortable. There will be growing pains. As children, developing is just part of growing up. Then, one day, we become adults…do we think that the learning stops or that the pain is over? Life is filled with new opportunities for growth and development.

Growing Pains

As business leaders, we are driven to grow companies. We all hope that we will land that big contract, but what happens when you actually catch the white elephant? Growing pains! First, you panic a little and think now how am I going to get this done? Then, you settle down and realize all you need to do is take one bite at a time out of the elephant. After a while, you find your new normal.

Bite Size Pieces

The devil is in the details. You engineer the design and plan the process the best you can. And then, you give it a whirl, try it out, figure out what is not working, go back to the drawing board and try again. Iteration after iteration…making things better each time.


Effectively communicating the details with all the stakeholders is important. 

You will need to communicate with the production staff. To get the job done, new tools or additional personnel could be required. Make sure they are involved in the discussions and decisions that affect their work.

Help back office staff understand the new processes and engage their feedback on how to make things more efficient.

Host postmortem meetings to quickly discuss what went well and what did not. This allows everyone involved in the process to understand how their work affects others in the organization. Create a sense of teamwork which will increase the motivation to solve problems when things aren’t going as planned.

Change is Scary

Change can cause the team anxiety. Understanding how others are feeling and addressing the fear and concern is an important job of a leader. Make sure the team knows you will be there with them through thick and thin. Mistakes and failure will just be a part of learning the new process. Pick up the pieces and keep moving forward.

Be Agile

Client communication is key. Make sure you respond as quickly as possible to clients’ needs. Ask the client if the fix to the problem was what they expected and meets their needs.

If all the stakeholders are working together, helping each other improve the processes, that once enormous project just becomes a part of the everyday activities. You find a new normal. Before you know it, those growing pains are just a memory.

But you can’t get complacent with the new normal, it is time to go after that next big project and land a new one. You must keep growing and learning…it is a repetitive cycle of growth and continuous improvement.

When faced with any new experience, you must have the resilience, persistence, and determination…grit to press onward. Learning does not come easy to most people. You must practice things that you find difficult. Explore a wide range of subjects to expand your horizon. Find someone that will help and support you along your journey much like a parent helps a child learn to ride their bike or with their math homework.

Life is about the journey, not the destination. If you take the chance and lean into those growing pains, life will continue to present opportunities.

What growth opportunity are you ready to tackle in the new year?

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