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A comfort zone is a beautiful place….but no growth happens there.

Everyone loves a comfort zone – warm, secure, and easy….no effort required. Growth requires exiting the comfort zone. Beyond the comfort zone lies the Fear Zone, the Learning Zone, and the Growth Zone. Your team is usually in all zones at the same time, depending on the topic or competency. Here are some tips to consider as you think about how to keep your team growing:

1. Comfort Zone – Growth can’t happen everywhere at the same time. You need some areas of competence with minimal effort to avoid burning out your team. Try to ensure these areas are at a high level of performance so your comfort zones aren’t resulting in lost opportunities or creating pain points for customers.

2. Fear Zone – the first place you enter when leaving the Comfort Zone. The only way out of Fear is through it. Your teams may need motivation, reassurance, and explanation for why this discomfort is necessary and worthwhile.

3. Learning Zone – The problems come into focus in the Learning zone. The team may need your support to overcome barriers, learn new skills, solve new challenges. Provide challenge and encouragement here….if you give answers the team may fall too quickly back to a new comfort zone. Allow exploration, experimentation, and failure here if possible.

4. Growth Zone – Enjoy your new perspective….recognize progress and hard work. From this new place you can assess what has changed and what’s next. Perhaps new goals you could only dream of before are now within reach, a gap has become a new capability to be leveraged, or perhaps focus should shift toward another comfort zone that needs work.

Pick an issue or capability – Which Zone is your team in today? Where do they see themselves? What is your role as a leader is this situation?

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