This article originally appeared on Robinia Creative.
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Two nights ago my wife and I ventured into a Barnes & Noble’s Bookstore to pick up a last-minute Christmas gift. My wife also wanted one of their free holiday cookies.
Immediately upon walking through the door, we had to turn sideways to make it past the crowded first book display. It seemed that the entire store was fixed on these “holiday favorites.” For me, I am a history/biography guy and my books are in the back of the store where I like them.
But back to the foyer’s book display.
On the table were books like “The Power of Habit,” and “12 Rules For Life,” and “Option B.” Summed up, they were Barnes & Noble’s top personal growth books and everyone wanted one.
It seems that everyone is obsessed with growth.
Growing up, I always wanted to grow. Just. One. More. Inch!
My brother was tall for his age; I wanted to be tall for my age. Growing up, growth was a desirable thing. Of course it was; we were growing up.
Growth, however, is stupid. Donella Meadows, author of Limits to Growth, even went so far to say, “Growth is one of the stupidest purposes ever invented by any culture.” Ouch!
As a thing, growth is directionless. Ironic? Absolutely.
In other words, growth is a climbing arrow on an unidentified graph. Yes, the arrow is climbing, but what defines the coordinate plane?
Meadows argued that all decisions or desires to grow needs to be accompanied with a multitude of questions. What needs to grow? Whom needs the growing? Why should we grow? Who pays for this costly growth? Does the environment matter?
These are all questions that need considered and answered before we chose to consider growth personally or as a business.
Perhaps, as marketers, the most important question is: what do our customers need and can growth still properly and positively resolve those needs?
In other words, goals need defined and growth must grow out of values.