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5 Years on... and still marching

Ian Dyason . 27 February 2021

Two days ago, we celebrated our fifth anniversary. It had to be done on Zoom because the team was spread across different geographies. We had people calling in from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and I am in Qatar. It was a fun, happy virtual party with colleagues, partners, family and friends coming together to celebrate GCA's milestone 5th birthday! Some experts say that of the companies that start up today, only 20% will make it to 5 years. And of these 5-year celebrants, only 20% will make it to 10 years. I am honoured to have been able to make it to the first milestone of five years, and I am hopeful that we can make it to 10 years. I do not consider ourselves to be a success now, but having successfully navigated 5 years, I would like to reflect in the next three posts on what we did well, and what we didn't do so well, and then map out what we need to do for the next 5 years so that we can safely cross the 10th Anniversary with even more happy colleagues, partners and friends!

So in this first installment, let's talk about...

What went well

1. An idea that grew into a product

Growth Consulting Asia (GCA), as the name implies, focuses on the growth mindset to help individuals and organisations, well..., grow. It started out as a side project for one of our programmes, Organic Growth. The growth mindset was just one component of that programme and in order to discuss behaviours for growth, we discussed the adoption of the growth mindset. However, there was no way we could adequately assess a person for that mindset, and that got me diving deep into the subject, collaborating with a PhD researcher who had his own behavioural assessment platform, uncovering the 5Dimensions from there and how we can measure them. This then grew unto itself, ending up with the product that we have now. If you asked me 5 years ago whether this is what I had envisioned for GCA, I must be honest it was not. I was really interested in running B2B training and consulting (and I still am!), with the growth mindset as a means to an end, but not the end in itself. But things will take a life of its own sometimes, as did the 5Dimensions of the Growth Mindset (5DGM), the main product for GCA at this moment. Today it is a product by itself, with its own supporting cast of services!

2. Constantly thinking about it even when no one else was

We are still not at a level where I can finally sit back and let the whole system run by itself. We are far from it. But we are still at it because we did not give up on it.

In the beginning, the 5DGM did not catch on. While as a concept it sounded fine, no one could see how this would impact an individual or an organisation. It became a "So What?" product. It went through many rounds of refinement, many rounds of research; each time looking at the data, looking at the output and looking at how to apply it. The thing is, sometimes, as developers, we can see what the data tells us and we can see how to apply it, but we are unable to articulate that well enough for others to see! And if no one else sees it, it is as good as useless. And that was basically what was happening in the beginning. It did not help that I could not control the inputs, the algorithm and the output, because if I did, I would have changed things, and perhaps clients could see what I did. But since I did not have my own platform, I had to work around it, trying to change the external perception of the results. While it took a long time until we finally got it to work for organisations, it came on the back of constantly thinking about it, constantly revisiting the programme, constantly creating something new. We are still not at a level where I can finally sit back and let the whole system run by itself. We are far from it. But we are still at it because we did not give up on it.

Which brings me to the next point we did well...

3. Never giving up

we continued to plug along, never giving up on the notion that we may one day be able to help individuals and organisations adopt the expansive mindset to grow!

When we first introduced the 5DGM to organisations, I must admit, it was a far cry from what we have now. We gave presentations to many organisations, and while some of them took it on as part of a larger programme, many did not, especially if it was THE focus of the programme. And when the 5DGM was embedded into a programme, its effects were masked by the larger programme outcomes. Hence, we did not really get a good foothold in the market with the 5DGM. However, I refuse