Aspire to a Culture of Growth

Katie Zink
3 min readJan 15, 2021
Young plants growing at different sizes alongside each other.

Here’s what I mean when I say, “Culture of Growth”.

It’s a workplace experience where all people know they can show up authentically, not know the answer to something, ask for help with humility, make mistakes, and believe they will still be accepted and whole.

It’s an environment where shame, oppression, bias, and judgment do not exist (or flourish, at least).

According to the Harvard Business Review, creating a culture of growth requires a blend of individual and organizational components:

  1. An environment that feels safe, fueled first by top by leaders willing to role model vulnerability and take personal responsibility for their shortcomings and missteps.
  2. A focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity, and transparency, in place of judgment, certainty, and self-protection.
  3. Time-limited, manageable experiments with new behaviors in order to test our unconscious assumption that changing the status quo is dangerous and likely to have negative consequences.
  4. Continuous feedback — up, down, and across the organization — grounded in a shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.

Remember What Really Matters

Here’s what I don’t mean when I say “Culture of Growth”.

ROI, revenue, expanding reach, aka, the ways we’re taught to view growth, value, merit, success.

Maybe that’s a risky statement, but hear me out.

While those things are important, in actuality, people don’t stay in jobs just because of the CEO’s bottom line. They stay at jobs and work harder when they believe they will benefit, their families will benefit, they will grow, and ultimately contribute to values and a purpose they believe in.

It’s the People

Think about your organization in a holistic manner; as an entity needing holistic growth. What needs to come first? Or actually, who?

It’s the ideators, planners, developers, producers of your customer base, renewers of the contracts, and the implementers of your solution. The People. People who crave growth, a path, a purpose, belonging, community.

An organization’s greatest asset is its people and with individual growth comes a fantastic ripple effect of success.

Own It

Perhaps the most important element to all this is to own your growth — and the growth of those around you.

You’ve heard the idiom, “it takes a village”. Perhaps, too many times. This includes evolving your career. Own the fact that you need others to help you develop in your role.

Talk to peers and managers about your growth and learn about their goals, so you can help elevate each other along the way. And do this often — Gallup found that employees receiving daily feedback from their managers are 3.6x more likely to be motivated to do outstanding work. It’s important ot recognize that employees of color are often not receiving the same quality of feedback as their white colleagues are.

In a growth culture, people build their capacity to see through blind spots; acknowledge insecurities and shortcomings rather than unconsciously acting them out; and spend less energy defending their personal value so they have more energy available to create external value.

How does this relate to a culture of social equity and inclusion? Black and Brown professionals won’t see themselves thriving in an organization that doesn’t already value growth, others owning their mistakes, and detachment from ego. Even if they’re hired, they won’t stay long. This recent post of mine explores this topic deeper >> Why Your Retention Issue is Costing You Big.

By enrolling in The Collective Culture Model, we’ll create your goals around these types of things. We’ll establish a strategy to help you create and nurture a culture of growth, amongst many other workplace culture objectives to propel equity and inclusion throughout the employee experience.

Contact me here to learn more.

Originally published at on January 15, 2021.



Katie Zink

DEI Strategist | Facilitator | Writer | Believes we’re all capable of our own revolution. Learn more about my signature consulting program at