Companies are constantly looking for ways to trim their budgets and streamline their systems. But it’s amazing to me how many of them jump through hoops in order to save a dollar here and a nickel there while overlooking the precious gems that are already on their payrolls.
Undervalued Assets Underperform
If the Atlanta Braves bring a new pitcher up from the minor leagues they don’t just put him on the mound and expect him to throw no-hitters. They surround him with teachers, coaches, and material resources to hone his talent and make him greater. They improve his mind. They teach him strategy. They provide access to state-of-the-art facilities with cutting edge technology.
But many corporate leaders and business owners spend tons of money and effort to attract and hire the most valuable people. Then they fail to fully utilize that human capital. Don’t be reluctant to invest in the continuing education and development of your employees, because that kind of investment continues to repay the bottom line for years.
Training, Not Telling
Many executives think that they are training their people just because they tell them what to do. But real training involves a great deal more than telling, because it is a form of education. Nobody would learn much, for example, if professors only gave lectures but never gave students a chance to ask questions or receive feedback on their homework assignments.
Training is communication, so you need to ensure that people comprehend what you are trying to explain to them. It’s also coaching and supporting them, so that they have the confidence in themselves to do what you’re asking of them and step beyond their comfort zone to meet challenges.
Enlist and Engage Internal Teachers
Much time, energy, and skill is wasted by organizations because new people are not assimilated into the organization fast enough. You don’t want brilliant people to sit around figuring out how the copy machine works or which department has the computer file they need when they could be make meaningful contributions.
Assign internal mentors and teachers to any new people or to those making transitions from other roles and teams. That will speed up the learning curve while it also helps to break down communication barriers. Plus training someone else to do something is the best way to retrain ourselves and keep our own skills fresh and sharp.
What Else Can They Do?
Despite detailed resumes, employees may have lots of hidden talent that not even they themselves are fully aware of, so a great leader will try to identify those proclivities and skills. You can use pre-employment assessments and tests that I.D. personality traits and career strengths, for example, to help uncover underutilized strengths and gifts your employees may have. Then you can start to draw those talents out and ensure that they are encouraged and engaged.
One of the smartest investments you can make is to earn a more robust return on your human capital. Leaders who have a knack for doing that are virtually guaranteed repeated promotions and higher income.
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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.
Blog, Ezine & Website: www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS