The "X" Factor for any group, team, Company or institution lies in THE PEOPLE!!! It is always about the People. Many firms have signs on the walls proclaiming "The Customer is King/Queen," when the reality is that people must deliver the customer proposition. When a firm actually puts their people at the forefront, the customer will always be treated with high standards. Developing people is too frequently abdicated to the final step in a budget process with the remaining funds being tagged for training and development.
People Development should be a top priority for every leadership team. One of the most strategic responsibilities for any CEO is to attract, nurture, and develop the next generation of leaders. Jack Welch, of General Electric, was the model CEO in this area during his leadership era.
Focus on Building Competencies
Every enterprise should identify the key capabilities which each leader and employee should master in order to deliver the business vision and objectives. After all, customers, communities, and share owners are counting on the people to be able to mange through the realities of everyday business. However, many firms have not clearly defined those competencies, established robust development plans, and tracked the progress.
For example the health care industry is undergoing massive change, re-structuring, while trying to care for patients in need. In such an environment it is important that the executive leadership is very adept in a few core competencies like:
- Leading through Change
- Team Effectiveness
- Acting with Integrity
Creating specific attributes of these four competencies, and setting accountability for developing the leadership team will lead to a higher performing executive team that will drive consistently higher performance across the organization.
Crafting a People Development Culture
Companies that have a reputation for investing in people development are able to attract and retain the top talent. This commitment begins with the Chief Executive Officer and is too important to be classified as the HR department leader's accountability. Crafting a culture of people development is a shared responsibility of every leader and the employees. People want to be associated with a company on the go where they can constantly grow their skills and contribute in a meaningful way.
This requires leaders who are conversant in development priorities and action plans. These leaders must also be skilled in providing useful coaching to employees and co-developing individual development plans that are inspirational to the worker and beneficial to the company mission.
Employees First at The Container Store
The Container Store is a company that is well known for its commitment to people development and employee development. Since 1978, this organization has operated with the mentality that the most important stakeholder is the employee. In fact, CEO, Mr. Kip Tindell subscribes to the notion of "Conscious Capitalism." This mindset puts forth the proposition that all stake holders have the ability to contribute to the success of The Container Store (employees, suppliers, customers, share owners). More than just a profit generating machine, where it is all about short-term share owner return, Tindell leads his company with a more holistic approach to sustainable growth. Clearly, The Container Store is differentiating itself with a people development culture.
JSW Consulting, LLC, works with clients to ensure people development becomes part of the organizational culture. People development should not be an "event-led" activity that relies on a few generic seminars sprinkled across the year. A strategic approach that identifies top talent, establishes developmental assignments, builds core competencies, tracks simple metrics, and involves individual coaching becomes a sustainable leadership practice. People development ultimately becomes a competitive advantage for the client.