There are many names for the process dedicated to organizational growth. Here are just a few.
Leadership and skills development.
Capacity and team building.
Empowerment and opportunities.
Informal and Formal Processes Matter.
It is essentially important to formally and informally build capacity within your organization to do what it was created to do.
Formal practices might include orientations, peer groups, leadership development opportunities (available to all interested), retreats, workshops, various forms of meaningful professional development, trade conferences, speakers, coaching services, etc.
Informal practices might include meeting-less days, intentional agendas, flex time, remote work options, valuing vacation time, workspace climate and culture, competency of management, how folks treat one another, etc.
The informal process happens when a formal ongoing process is developed, embedded within operations, becomes the norm and is built into the culture of the organization.
Sadly, a quick one or two day approach, when a problem arises or at the beginning of the year, simply won’t cut it. Equally unhelpful, efforts made for the few folks considered to be in leadership positions or those “with leadership potential”.
The process must be on-going, intentional and available to all.
When things are going well within the organization, these items often get cut from the budget. However, when things are going well within the organization – magic is awaiting your organization and this is the very best time to ensure these items are in place.
It’s common to bring in a program or speaker when conflict arises, tension is high or productivity is low. A person is often hired with the hope that s/he will set the misdirected folks straight and do a team building exercise and all will be well. This approach rarely works.
It doesn’t work for many reasons.
One reason it doesn’t work – folks that “need to hear it” are unavailable, literally or figuratively. They find a reason to not attend, because they don’t see themselves as a problem. And if it is mandatory, they sit closed minded. Again, they don’t see themselves as a problem or as a potential solution.
Some attendees think “yes, oh yes”, “say that again” and “can you repeat that”. People actually say this because they believe what I am saying is meant for someone else, not them. Not only is this uncomfortable for the presenter, because a presenter can tell dynamics pretty quickly, it only worsens the environment and does more damage. Information is for the entire group, solutions take the entire team and culture is based on everyone’s contribution.
This is not the ideal environment for growth.
A second reason it doesn’t work – this is a process. It can’t happen in one training or one retreat. Teams aren’t built from an expert coming in and telling “others” what to do. Highly impactful environments are created with trust and great leaders, both take time.
A third reason it doesn’t work – real growth happens when the focus is on opportunities and strengths, not problems. People are more open and self reflective when they feel safe.
Strategic Planning is a Different Process.
Another common mistake – It is common to hire someone to update the strategic plan. However, if you don’t have a high performing team, high trust environment – you won’t get an impactful strategic plan. Unless your team is dynamic, your strategic plan will simply not be dynamic. And unless your organization is high functioning, your strategic plan will not be high functioning after design.
Three Levels to Consider.
Organization or leadership development should be considered in the context of all three levels below. Workshops, retreats, peer groups, coaching opportunities, and so much more should be a regular on-going process at all levels.
Change the World with Your People.
Having a positive environment, where trust is high and creativity flows is imperative. This isn’t a budget item to be cut. Your human resources are your greatest assets.
I compare organizations to icebergs. Things might look smooth and slick on the surface, but underneath there is a lot going on. A trained and skilled facilitator knows how to work below the surface, allowing your people, your teams and your organization to be the very best they can be while truly changing the world!
It is not too costly or too late to invest.