Encourage Growth

Shawnee Love   •  
April 29, 2016

It is a universal truth:

People want to grow.

Any culture which prevents growth will not only stagnate, it will lose the hearts and minds of its people.

Since growth is so critical, it must be nurtured into organizations.  You can encourage growth in your culture by:

  1. Hiring for it.  Hire people who want to grow in the areas you want your business to grow and/or hire people for whom the job would be a growth opportunity.  Often we focus on past experience and believe (mistakenly) that it promises future success.  That “logical” assumption doesn’t prove to be true very often. Because experience is contextual and context changes in each organization.
  2. Begin growing the person in the orientation.  Orient the new hire to the job and company, teach your rules of engagement, (how you do things), introduce to key people and ensure the incumbent is clear that personal development is a requirement.
  3. Talking about growth plans early and often. Often career development conversations happen once a year as an addendum to the performance review.  However, if the company has goals, then each person should be aware of how he or she will be expected to contribute and how to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver as well as be ready to take on the next challenge.
  4. Investing. Whether you invest time or money or both, you need to invest in your people’s growth.  Pick a budget and ensure it gets used.
  5. Holding people accountable for self development. Your employees’ careers are theirs.  You can guide, support and teach them, but their careers come with them when they start and leave with them when they go.  Make sure your employees know they are responsible for their own growth – although you will have their back.
  6. Measuring.  Not all learning can be measured in dollars and cents, but you should be able to recognize improvements in quality, productivity, efficiency, creativity, etc. that occur after education has been completed.
  7. Appreciating your role in developing better people.  As employers, I believe we are not only here to make our businesses successful, but also to contribute positively to our communities.  With that value in mind, I encourage you to grow your people’s softer skills such as their abilities to relate, empathize, problem solve, storytell, innovate, value diversity, etc.  That which makes us better humans also makes us better able to connect with clients, vendors, and colleagues, proving yet again:

That which is good for our culture and morale is also good for business.Brain & heart character illustration