Last week I had the opportunity to do the keynote speech at the Illinois Society of Human Resource Managers annual conference. I asked the 400 HR executives, “How many of you are looking for new growth for your business next year?” 100% of hands went up. My follow-up question: “How many of you have given your managers new concepts, tools and frameworks to generate that new growth?” About 10% of hands went up.

Big disconnect.

Here’s a simple but often overlooked premise: New growth comes from new thinking. Expecting new growth without new ways of thinking is like a farmer expecting new crops to grow without first planting the seeds.

For anyone out there with the idea that working harder doing the same things in the same ways as you did them this past year will generate new growth, please don’t let me interrupt your nap. For those of us that don’t have our heads buried in the sand of business by busyness, identifying new concepts, tools and frameworks to think about the business is crucial. If you don’t have at least five new thought-provoking questions and an equal number of new strategic thinking models, don’t expect miraculous new growth. Expect more sand.

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