People Development functions (generally called Human Resource Development or Training and Development) have a noble mission, yet a challenging assignment - they have the power to change the organization, one yet to be created! They walk on tight ropes, balancing their passion in enabling an ideal learning culture, yet managing the expectations of stakeholders who expect high impact with lower investment.
How does one continue to push through the barriers to make it work for all? Where does one gain the energy to sustain the positive momentum and hope? Below we will explain some of the tactics to be considered followed by ideas for action. This is not a prescription or a magic pill; please do consider these as triggers for further thinking.
Lets begin with some themes and reflection questions to uncover some insights:
It is good to ask a few questions – to yourself.
- How great am I as a learner?
- How much do I believe in my mission?
- How inspiring and energizing my vision is for the organization?
- How do my interactions with others role model a culture I want to create in organization?
Role modeling is the best way to influence others - staff tends to learn from what you do rather than what you tell. Challenge yourself to bring to life all the values and behaviors you want to see in the department or organization. Abandon the less important; make time for the ground breaking and thought provoking!
Establishing frameworks for appreciative conversations
Meetings typically represent the slice of the organizational life. Your organizational dialogue is the material for sculpting the future. If the topic is stress, demand, blame, exhaustion, and day-to-day fires, it is time you turn these conversations around.
- How do you run your meetings?
- Do you get everyone involved or only a few end up speaking?
- Do you get people to express their deeper insights, ideas and fears in the open?
- Do you spend enough time on shaping the future?
- Do you celebrate successes?
- Do you have coaching frameworks in place to extend the reach of your conversations?
Engaging the whole system
If change has to be meaningful and beneficial to all, a process of engaging all the stakeholders periodically to assess the present and envision a future has to be established. This would mean creating opportunities for conversations with the peers, colleagues, leaders, clients and other stakeholders, to communicate, clarify, seek inputs and understand the needs. These are open, two-way, creative and focused conversations that highlight dreams, challenges, successes and solutions.
Building an infrastructure for Growth and support
How do you manage the growth of your staff? Human Resource Development Leader and staff face some of the most difficult challenges. They are expected to do a lot of mindset wok, but they end up mentally exhausted. They walk in with so much energy to share knowledge, but leave bogged down by the administrative overhead.
How do you as a head of the organization, deal with your staff? Do you help them express their needs, vent their frustrations and find ways to support each other to be the best?
Some of these practices will open up avenues for further conversations and meaningful actions - establishing trust, openness, pushing boundaries and innovation. The awkwardness and unease in the beginning will give way to energy, passion and commitment.
More pointers for consideration
Growth and development provide hope for producing enlightened leaders. It is the great source of guidance, strength, power, clarity and growth - leading to individuals, families, workplaces and societies filled with optimism, purpose and will.
Here are a few ideas for you to consider movingtowards a positive change in people development.
- Ask appreciative questions in all possible occasions, to bring out the best in people through stories of strength, insights, contribution, success and dreams. This skill goes hand in hand with the supporting skills of patience, inquiry, balancing judgment (neutrality) and active listening. Let your staff meetings be humane, energizing, uplifting and real!
- Create safety for people to open up in conversations by being vulnerable, open and willing to share, even accept mistakes and ask for feedback. Appreciate courage, inquiry, contribution, honesty and openness. Scheduling time for such activities is crucial. How you respond to the situations will determine the success - push yourself to just be, rather than do.
- Role model positive energy, optimism, hope, graciousness, abundance and can-do, instead of compliance, fear, victim mindset and scarcity mentality. Share dreams openly and create opportunities to listen to others dreams.
As head of the organization, if you can see beyond the obvious and stay rooted in a collective dream of a great future, why would everyone not follow you? Why would a great leader like you, not take the opportunity to make a difference - however challenging that might see to be?