A fine balancing Act

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

I recently came across the news that India is facing a jobless economic growth ( This means that the economic growth is capital intensive but not labor intensive. The GDP is at an average of 7%, yet unemployment is growing. We have not been able to create enough jobs for the new workforce which is entering into the market every year. What does this indicate about the development of the nation ?

This prompts us to understand the difference between growth and development.

Does child growth and development mean the same ? No, they don’t. Here growth typically means that a child is growing physically, increasing in weight, height, etc. When we say child development, it means that the child is developing in terms of his/her cognitive, emotional and interpersonal skills. This means that the child is undergoing an all round development, that helps him/her to engage successfully with complex situations as the environment changes.

What about economic growth and economic development ? A country’s economic growth is normally measured in terms of it’s GDP, foreign direct investments, etc, but it’s development is measured in terms of per capita income, human development index, quality of life, poverty alleviation, etc.

Clearly growth and development need different kinds of tools, ingredients, strategies, resources and even understanding.

What about an organization’s growth and it’s development ? An organization’s growth implies an increase in it’s revenues, profits, number of employees, number of offices, increase in stock price, venture capital, etc. What does it’s development mean ? We often come across reports in the media about companies that have performed well in terms of it’s growth parameters. How often do we hear people talk about or write reports or stories about a company’s development ?

What does an organization’s development involve ? Any organization is a social system, and it’s heart and soul is the individuals who are part of the system. Development of an organization happens when it’s individual develop, when it has a positive work culture, a strong leadership, people are able to come together to work towards a shared goal and it’s values are well articulated and nurtured.

One obvious distinction between these two phenomena is that growth measures are tangible whereas development measures are not so tangible. It is not straight forward or possible to measure accurately an organization’s culture, it’s leadership, employee satisfaction, job enrichment and various such factors. This makes it difficult for us to pay attention to the development of an organization, but that is no excuse for ignoring this aspect. If an organization cannot create and sustain an environment where people are at their best, it will become enormously difficult to increase and sustain growth.

Paying attention to both growth and development is a fine balancing act, that needs a solid strategy, continuous learning, diversity in thinking, deep listening to yourself and people around you, self-awareness and most of all, great leadership ! 

Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

child psychologist

Child Psychology: Tips to Understand Your Child Well

by Daniel Brain

Meet Janice Palmer CEO of “The Little People Development Center” On the Perfect Environment for Children’s Growth

by Joey Claudio
By goodmoments/Shutterstock

What You Need to Know About the Science Behind Your Baby’s Brain

by Dr. Gail Gross

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.