“We need to develop our organisation!”
What does it really mean when we talk about developing an organisation and where do we start?
Having a strong desire for growth and development is certainly a positive starting point. But things begin to get more challenging when you need to decide exactly how to go about it. How do organisations best support and develop their individuals and teams?
The obvious route is to invest in training and other supportive interventions but when you look at the vast range of options available it’s tricky to say the least, to decide on which training courses to choose and which interventions to bring in.
From influencing and communication skills training to leadership development courses to individual and team coaching, mentoring and facilitation….. The possibilities for development go on and on.
Unfortunately, most organisations don’t have the luxury of an unlimited budget and people simply don’t have the time or motivation to attend endless training courses. They have a job to do and time is precious. So how do you go about choosing the right way to develop your people without wasting time, energy and resource? It’s all about identifying the REAL NEED.
Let’s think about our weekly supermarket shop. We've all fallen for those tempting ‘Buy 1 get 1 free’ or ‘half-price’ offers or perhaps selected products strategically placed at the end of aisle. I get so annoyed with myself when I see the extra items I didn’t initially set out to buy, innocently making their way down the conveyor belt. How did that happen?
Did I actually NEED 3 jumbo sized bags of crisps? Possibly not.
Will I eat them? Probably some.
Would I have survived without them? Absolutely yes!
So now I try and be a bit more strict with myself. I make a point of asking one key question before placing anything into my trolley which isn’t on my shopping list.
“Do I really need this?”
Surprisingly, it works (well some of the time). At the very least, it makes me think before I buy.
The same is true in organisations. Before you commit to that influencing skills training course or perhaps decide to invest in an internal coaching programme, find out a little more about what your employees and teams actually need. Sound complicated? It really doesn’t have to be.
The biggest mistake you could be making is assuming that because a training course sounds good or comes highly recommended, that people in your company actually need it. It’s all about getting out and engaging with your people to find out where the biggest gaps are. Maybe try out these 3 steps to get you started:
- Talk, talk, talk
Get into the organisation and talk openly and honestly! HR should be talking with their leaders and managers, leaders should chat with their team members and managers need to have open discussions with their line reports. Be open on why you’re talking to them and they’ll know you’re asking for the right reasons. Trust is critical.
Whether you choose to have group forums, 1 to 1 discussions or even design paper questionnaires and surveys, you need be find out more. Ask questions like:
- What are the main challenges you face in your role?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What stops you from getting there?
- What else do you need to achieve your objectives?
People feel great when they’re being really listened to. They want to know that their opinion is valued and that their development needs are important. It’s a bonus that this engagement is helping you too because you’re gathering rich information to locate the strongest need for support within the organisation.
- What are they telling you?
So you’ve done the hard part and got right into the organisation. Now's the time to dive into all that information you've collected and start the detective work. Are there trends where people feel consistently challenged in their job? Are the obstacles they face always same? Are many of them telling you that they need to feel more empowered?
You may start to notice patterns which give you pretty reliable clues on where the strongest need is and where to start the development journey.
- Find a solution to fit the need
Now you've defined the need you can start to make better decisions on how to support it. For instance, if your talent group feel unable to access and engage with more senior parts of the organisation, then mentoring may offer a solution to support this. If teams feel they’re lacking a clear vision and goals, this may be aligned to a team coaching intervention. You'll still have options but the list will be much shorter.
The great thing is that by opening up lines of communication in this way, you've immediately started the 'development' ball rolling. Engaging with your employees to really understand, rather than assume what they need, leads to wiser investments in training and supportive interventions. This can make all the difference in achieving the ultimate goal of developing your organisation.
To discuss the training and development options you might already have in mind or to challenge your thinking on personal or organisational development, just drop me an email at email@example.com or call for a chat on 07719 690 967.