Invest in your people.
I, along with thousands of others, have expressed its importance countless times. It’s a noble ideal and, in many cases, the right thing to do.
But at some level it is controlling.
It assumes you know what’s best. It assumes you know how your people want to grow, where they truly are, and where they want to be.
True development happens only when an individual wants it to happen and then yields to the process.
So what if instead of investing in your people, you invested with them? A co-investment.
Start with a conversation:
- Learn how they see themselves before you assume you understand the depths of another human.
- Find out where they think they need to grow before offering your single point of view.
- Ask where they want to be in 1, 3, 5 years before assuming they want your life.
- Let them tell you what skills they really want to obtain before you prescribe a one-size-fits-all plan.
Of course, first you’d better earn a truck-load of trust if you expect honest answers to these questions.
But assuming you’ve earned that trust, isn’t this the better way?
Humans need a stake in their own development to be successful.
When we invest with our people we let them maintain the stake in theirs.