How To Make Incremental Changes For Long-Term Growth

How To Make Incremental Changes For Long-Term Growth



The gentle yet persevering Cultivator sits on the border between Sustaining and Tempering natural energies. As a nurturing profile, Cultivators know how to combine timing with steady development to affect and refine the growth of the team, product or project they are involved in.

Just as a plant grows and strengthens through a flexible response to its environment, so too does a Cultivator make incremental adjustments in their environment to achieve long-term, sustainable growth.

Nurturing growth

Cultivators are unlikely to spearhead new ideas or lead others in a very public manner. Instead they create value through building an infrastructure or scaffolding of resources and plans in the background, which support the central idea and ensure that it goes the distance. Cultivators are driven by routine and connection to others along with the certainty of structure, process and facts.

This is often seen as a drive to create long-term sustainable growth that is achieved through incremental refinements applied consistently and with focus. They tend to seek long-term project environments where they can control the final outcomes, set a planned pace and adjust the plan to get there along the way.

Related: Find Out If You’re A ‘Connector’ Leader Who Inspires Your Team

Cultivators have a talent to grow, accumulate and develop assets and resources in a sustainable and enduring manner. They also have an ability to sense risk and see the warning signs that alternative routes will soon be required.

Cultivators who have learnt to maximise their natural energy, understand that subtle and flexible growth can only deliver long-term results if it is consistent and persistent. They understand how to support progress at a gradual pace without dissipating their focus or undermining their ability to achieve the required outcomes — not too fast and not too slow.

On board: The Cultivator contribution


A Cultivator director brings to a board two essential qualities — the long-term view for sustainable, incremental growth and a deep understanding of the risks likely to be faced along the way. Their nurturing, supportive and diligent approach is forward-planning and aimed at delivering tangible results.

A Cultivator director is typically grounded, calm, realistic, data-driven and efficient, yet commanding and deliberate. They inspire others to plan ahead, think resourcefully and appreciate the value of how being specific matters.

In a board room, Cultivator directors typically ask to see project plans, projections, long-term budgets and the risk management framework. They encourage the company, through the board, to instil a planning culture and a metrics-based performance measurement.

Gentle yet probing questioning will support a board to slow down its thinking and consider the intended and unintended consequences of every decision.

A Cultivator director who struggles to maximise their natural energy may be too risk-averse, resulting in a climate permeated with trepidation and concern. Instead, risk should be seen as an opportunity that just requires special care.

Cultivator directors should also avoid focusing too much on reports, analysis, and metrics such as return on investment, while being overly adamant about sticking to the plan no matter what. If they do, the opportunity for spontaneous creativity and innovative thinking may have little room to express itself through the board.

A matured Cultivator director has learnt how to ground and nurture high activating energy in the board while being able and willing to make refinements and adjustments in the plan as its implementation unfolds.

Related: How The Motivator Ignites Greatness

Rhythm and commitment

The Cultivator contribution to a board will ensure that the right balance is struck between the paced management of time and resources and the optimal yet sustainable growth of the company.

They are ideal for complex project and asset management environments, or where long-term investment growth is a critical output for the board. Their commitment and perseverance to creating rhythm and stamina for the long haul is an enduring force of value creation.

Carl Bates
Carl Bates is a global entrepreneur, speaker, author, mentor and director. Currently based in South Africa, he is a dynamic entrepreneur from New Zealand who guides small to medium businesses to achieve Extreme Business Success.