"Without continual growth and progress," the astute Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said, "such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."

I agree.

But it's more than a nice saying.

It has to be a commitment.

A commitment from you, delivered through your company, and taken on "whole hog plus the postage" (as I often like to say) by every employee at every level.

At the heart of this notion is the belief that we are, none of us, complete as we are.

For us to be complete, there must be a drive to grow beyond our current capabilities, our current knowledge, skills, and perspective.

Many business owners I've known bemoan the fact that their employees seem content to just do their jobs and will only improve themselves if they see a raise or a promotion as the reward.

How sad.

How much they're missing.

But rather than blame employee indifference, ask yourself what kind of example they are seeing in company leadership.

In the managers they work with every day.

In you.

Do they see senior level staff learning, growing, and expanding their understanding, knowledge and skills?

Do they have role models for continual growth and development?

Do they have avenues within your company to pursue their own growth?

Are they even encouraged to do so?

In many businesses, especially in small businesses, there is precious little to be learned, other than the job one is hired to do.

Because of this, most people stop learning once they go to work.

Learning, if it goes on at all, is pragmatic at best, and it's specifically pragmatic to what goes on in that particular business.

I can't tell you the number of times I've heard business owners say, "If I give employees training beyond what they specifically need to know here, what's to prevent them from taking this knowledge to another company?"

How sad.

If you are going to create the most successful small business in the world, and grow it into an exceptional great growing company, you'll need exceptional people.

And the best way to find exceptional people is not to find them, but to create them.

So write this down:

A great, exceptional business doesn't find the right people; it creates them. And to create such people, your business needs to be a school.

Continuous school.

The never-stop kind of school.

The school of continuous learning.

No school they have ever been to possessed the knowledge or the interest to prepare their students to become what you and your company expect of them.

Your people must hunger for something that no one has ever even thought of before.

They must hunger to become leaders in a totally new world.

To accomplish this, you must become a voracious teacher and your people must become voracious students.

And what you teach must be voraciously designed to meet the expectations of what your company will ultimately become, a company with the highest standards, producing a world class result for the customers it serves.

A school of extreme learning that continuously fulfills the innate desire of its people to learn, create and grow.

"Come dream with me," you must say to one and all.

"Come dream with me, and let's create a new world!"