Short Term & Long Term Management
Great companies find a balance between focusing on short-term performance and making sure that there people are being prepared for long term growth and stability. Too many companies and business units within companies fall short in people development. Focus on people development is time consuming, can be costly and messy as people are taken off-line for the time needed to train. The true cost, of not consistently developing people, is failure to grow and keep pace with the competition. Any efforts to improve performance by developing people can not be accomplished by some one-off, knee-jerk, drop everything and get better strategy. It is top down and bottom-up. It must become a core competency of the organization…”we develop our people, and we do it every day.”
As a manager, or senior executive, ask yourself “how much time and money do we invest in developing our people and is it a central conviction of how we run our business?” If you can’t honestly answer in the positive, you have a “hole in your bucket.” Make a commitment and fill this hole and see your performance, motivation and productivity rise. Another important question each manager should ask themselves and their managers…”how much do we really know about the hopes, goals, aspirations and shortcomings of our people?” If growth and development is really a part of the business culture, everyone Knows it. If it is not, everything Shows it.
Don’t Pay Lip Service to Employee Development
Every executive or manager of managers must take responsibility for making sure that every other manager is committed to developing their people. This is evidenced by actions and behaviors and not lip service or the occasional training program. Changing the velocity of growth of any company comes from hiring better people and developing all your people. There is no short cut here. Leadership insists on it. Advancement should depend on it. Performance assessments should reflect it. Having an ever Improving “talent bench-strength”, puts the business unit in the position to take on new projects and to excel at execution. Why do managers make this harder than it needs to be? Consider the approach of dedicating time and energy to the “improvement fitness” of the skills of your team.
Mentoring represents another pivot point of people development. Managers need to ask themselves “how much time do I spend mentoring my people, including extra time with potential top performers?” Managers have to set the example. When people see the top managers coaching and mentoring people, or actually experience this help, they really start to buy into the culture. Nothing pays a greater compliment or vote of confidence to an employee than a managers investment of her/his time in their people. It also provides an excellent opportunity to get to know your people better. When a manager mentors an employee, particularly one who is a budding top talent, others will be motivated to get mentored, as well. It creates gradient-desire to be worth the managers time.
When developing people, do not limit it to just the obvious top performers. Even the most experienced managers will not always see the potential “diamond in the rough” employee. A business unit may also have someone that is just adequate at one job or responsibility but may be a potential top star in another area. Training and mentoring people provide a unique opportunity to uncover this potential. My experience has shown that talented people outside the organization will be attracted to a business or business unit with a reputation for developing their staff. People see this as a great place to work because they connect with the contribution the business has to grow their people. It also scares the hell out of the competition. A company with consistent dedication to growing their people will always be a competitive threat.
Broaden Team Talent Base
Another significant benefit to the people development principal is to broaden the talents of their teams. Having employees who are really well trained in their specialty is good. Having people whose experience has been broadened and expanding keeps the company agile in the face of changing markets. You never know when things will turn in another direction. Having a team that is trained and cross-trained in more than one discipline is a huge advantage when new direction is required. Be a nimble player. Let your people experience new and different disciplines. Have your people switch jobs with someone else for several days. Don’t worry about someone who really grows leaving or going to another division. A business unit for known for developing future leaders or top talent will always have new talent clamoring to be a part of the team.
People Development Component
Additional People Development Resource