The ABC of XYZ

Thanks to Quora.com, someone asked how you promote personal development within an organization. I don’t know the questioner’s rank in their organization, but I suspect they are more of a minion than the Felonious Gru… which of course gives them all the more credibility in my eyes. Here’s my answer:

People grow. This happens naturally, as they experience whatever is going on in their environment… So, assuming what you want is people who will become more valuable to your organization, the overriding strategy is this: Stop interfering with people’s positive experiences, because if your people are not developing, your environment is stifling them. 

Would you expect flowers to grow without sunshine? Water? Nutritious soil? People need the equivalent. Try these:

  1. Let the sunshine in. (Yes, I am quoting the song from Hair.) Stop punishing joy – revel in it, because it promotes growth both on the individual and team level.
  2. Make sure your people have confidence in your company’s ability to meet their basic needs, no questions asked. At the very least, this means always taking care of their needs first. If you can’t meet payroll, stop paying yourself and sell what you need to so their checks don’t bounce.
  3. Consider the environment you expect people to flourish in. Is it clean, safe, and welcoming? (Hint: if they have to pay for coffee, it’s not.)

Finally, XYZ. (Moms used to say this to teach their young sons to remember to perform a basic social function. It stood for eXamine Your Zipper…) In this case, eXamine Your Z-factor. You can look up Z-factor if you want to delve into details, but what you want to check is that you have used a big enough sample size. Which means, if you don’t get results immediately, try harder, try longer, and try bigger.

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