A New Year's tale on Development.

While preparing our New Year’s family dinner, my brother came to talk to me in the kitchen. He leads a major pharmaceutical plant for an animal health company. He wanted to know what I perceived as the biggest challenge in Talent Management for managers and organizations in general.

During my 25 years experience mainly in the corporate world and also in consulting and coaching, I didn’t hesitate to answer: “development”. Only some of the corporations that I worked at and for, made an effort in really investing in people and their development. Most of them though, count on acquired talent and do not really bother about actually continuously developing and feeding these talents.

And yet, it is so easy to invest in people’s development. Only a minority of people have enough sense of initiative to develop themselves, most of our talents are busy developing their work instead of their own skills, and only if they are lucky, they do both at the same time. So why not help them in really providing support in their skill development. Not only by enrolling them in training programs, but also by providing a good coach or a mentor. Skilled coaches should be present in your organization. While many managers speak about themselves as being a good coach, only part of them really know and understand what it means to lead as a coach. Often they confuse coaching with giving instructions, mentoring, consulting or even leading. 

My best boss ever believed in me, in my development, and invested in me She probably took (calculated) risks by giving me enough space and opportunity for development. She allowed me to stretch, make mistakes and learn. I am still extremely thankful to her. 

Coaching, mentoring, leading or supporting and knowing when to apply which style is not only an easy and effective way to develop your people, and as a consequence your organization, it is also cheap! Development is in any employee’s top three list of reasons to stay with a company.  Nevertheless, a part of few employer’s priority list. Some claim it is, but we don’t really see it in practice.

So Dear People Managers and Organization Leaders, "Coaching your Coaches” and “Developing your Workforce” should be highly ranked on your action plan 2016. You and your organization will benefit from it.

In the meantime, my steamed mackerel with marinated vegetables was ready to be served, the whole family came to sit around the New Year’s table and the conversation turned to the best books we had read and the best series we had seen in 2015. Another exciting topic.

Thank you for taking the time to read my New Year’s tale !