“How can your organization grow, if your people don’t?” said Johan Beeckmans.
It’s so obvious, but often contrary to how we operate. Whether you’re part of an association, government, or company your organization is made up of people . Whatever we do, we don’t work with organizations we work with people. Oddly enough we forget this basic fact.
So many organizations have been experiencing deep change at the core of their operations. Whether the change is less dollars, people or any other resource, it’s still people who deal with all these changes. How do we expect to grow the organization if we don’t grow the people?
All organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, function by recruiting and retaining members. You are endlessly recruiting if you fail to retain. And your membership will simply decline and eventually disappear if you don’t recruit new members. One act feeds the other.
No matter how much energy you exert recruiting or how much enthusiasm a new recruit brings to the organization, it’s the next step that feeds or starves the new recruit. What are you doing to strengthen the development of what really is the organization — the people ?
Here are some simple strategies or ways to grow your people.
- Practice Target Shooting.
- Ask “What’s Going Right?”
- Respect Transitions.
Practice “target shooting.”
Target shooting? Yes, its the opposite of trouble shooting. And using target shooting can actually eliminate how much you have to trouble shoot.
Target shooting is the art of helping people focus their energy. It happens by fostering an attitude of personal development. It’s more than personal goal setting, it’s fostering the expectation of growth. We’re often faced with what seems to be a giant project or insurmountable task. When we look at a giant project it can be overwhelming. However, if we all just commit to improving by 1% every day, in 70 days we’re twice as good. Think of the possible gains in your organization if every person doubled their effectiveness in just 70 days. It’s not about doubling our workloads or inputs, its about doubling our effectiveness.
“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person we become.” –Jim Rohn
Target shooting is not just for new recruits. It’s for every person at every experience level committing themselves to personal development. How beautiful to know you’re part of an organization with members that are personally and professionally dedicated to becoming better. That’s a magical commitment where actions and intentions meet.
Ask “What’s going right with you?”
Have you been part of a meeting where people lose sight of making decisions and lose themselves wallowing in all of their challenges? Mmmm. The attitude of making a difference that you brought to the meeting turns to a feeling of heavy camaraderie in the “muck of the yuck.” What went wrong?
The active search for feedback is not common. We say we’re just too busy to get feedback. Yes, the person sitting next to you may have suggestions or answers to help you. Or if they don’t, they may know someone else who does. But we don’t wear the information on our foreheads for everyone to see. Culturally we’re taught not to boast or brag about our achievements. So how do we find out the treasure of resources around us? It’s all packed in the attitude and invitation of a simple question — What’s going right with you?
The tone of a meeting changes drastically when people are sharing their successes. You can ask the question to the entire delegation or have a fellowship session before the meeting where people ask the question one-on-one. The result is powerful.
A client (or what has grown to be a community of friends) has an annual event called “From Now to WOW!” The focus is personal and professional development to move people and the organization from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The coordinator defined “Wow” as what happens when you’re really hungry and munching on french fries. You think you’re finished but you suddenly find a few more fries in the bottom of the bag. That is a Wow. Then a handful of participants stood and shared “Wow’s” they had witness or received at work. It was a magical moment where people reveled in the glory of the moment.
Another powerful advantage is what you learn about other people. You may have thought someone was in a 30-day bad mood. Somehow after hearing the answer to “What’s going right with you?” you understand the magnitude of a challenge they’ve been facing.
The question isn’t just for your organization. What a great question to ask while spending time with family and friends. So much is happening in the lives around us. Asking the question — What’s going right with you? — helps us learn about and from others.
When members are trying new skills and stretching their limits this is not necessarily a time of bliss. In George Leonard’s wonderful book Mastery he illustrates the process of mastery. An individual is at one plateau with their current skills and wants to move to improve their skills to move to the next highest plateau. Although the shortest path from the current plateau to the next plateau would be a straight line up, that is not the path of performance in the process of learning a new skill. A person’s performance actually drops to a level below the current plateau before they make the leap to the next plateau.
Great learning occurs in the place or space of decreased performance. This is where the individual identifies the critical points of effectiveness. This is also the time when the individual and those nearby become frustrated with the person’s performance. To grow our people we must respect the power of transitions.
When individuals feel the most frustrated is when they need the most encouragement. Only from the learning experienced in the transitions can the person move to the next level. We shouldn’t curse someone’s temporary dip in performance. If they’re committed to improvement, we must reaffirm their decision to take short term risks for long term benefits.
The life of your organization depends upon the people who make the organization work. Of all these people, there is only one person you have total and complete control — YOU.
Growing our organizations means growing our people which ultimately means growing ourselves
Patty Hendrickson, Certified Speaking Professional works with organizations that want to grow leaders and with people who want more out of life. For information about her interactive and enthusiastic programs and leadership resources visit www.PattyHendrickson.com.
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