harness your people's abilities and attitudes in a planned and
productive manner, through a clearly defined programme of challenges,
experiences, team involvement, and training.
Companies that have endeavoured
to develop and draw out the best from the people in their organisation
appear to have established a strong focus in a number of the
They take every opportunity
to develop the individual and collective abilities of their people
They enable their people
to fully realise their potential through challenge and opportunity
They build a culture
of empowerment, and ensure their people's authority grows in
line with their competence
They inspire and motivate
their people to their best performance through a true spirit
Manage the HR Process
They design HR policies,
appraisals and rewards to actively support the vision and culture
Ensure People Satisfaction
They systematically ensure
their people remain happy and fulfilled
To understand these in more detail
please click on the relevant image above, or scan through the
opportunity to develop the individual and collective abilities
of your people
How capable are your people?
Do you have the means to quantify it? And is that capability
increasing or declining?
What do you do to actively manage the growth of your net capability?
Most work provides tremendous
opportunities to combine the potential of people with the potential
of processes to enhance the performance of both. Management is
essentially about maximising the short and longer term benefits
of this flow of opportunities.
The development of process performance has for sometime been
seen in this way, but the development of people is often more
Building capability is about actively using the flow of work
opportunities to manage a balance between todays operational
performance improvements, and the improvement in the capability
and potential of your people for tomorrow.
Building capability in this way
provides a continuous and focused flow of training to your people
and reduces your dependency on isolated training courses, or
buying in capability through recruitment.
In addition, while the added value makes your people more interesting
to the poachers among your competitors, it makes them less likely
to leave since they will recognise that the benefits from working
for your company are far from purely financial.
Finally, the process nature of development makes
your people far more flexible and the business less prone to
the disruption caused by staff leaving.
Any systematic approach to building
the capability of your people has to be rooted in a clear model
of your peoples current capabilities. You need to have
a clear and appropriate competency model against which you can
measure current capability, target growth in that capability,
and plan the assignments that will enable you to reach that target.
This can be almost as onerous as the planning required to make
the process improvements your require to meet target, but then
the benefits are at least as great, and the two tasks can easily
Some of the capability you will seek to develop will inevitably
be specialist, but there is also a great need in most organisations
to develop and hone the general skills of problem solving, managing
improvement, teamworking, influencing, management etc.
people to fully realise their potential through challenge and
How well are the skills and competences
of your people harnessed into adding real value for the business?
How well does your team selection and management process ensure
that people are harnessed and developed to the full?
In many peoples minds the paradigm
of success being related to status, and status being related
to the number of levels below you in the hierarchy is still prevalent.
This paradigm has a severely limiting effect on growing and harnessing
people, because of the expectation that responsibility goes with
status and a management or supervisory position. Delayering has
helped to combat this but also exacerbated the problem by reducing
the scope for such promotions.
Harnessing potential is about smashing the paradigm and harnessing
and rewarding people in such a way that formal promotion
is no longer the preferred route.
By separating kudos from hierarchy
we can do much to reward, develop and retain our star performers
without promoting them to a role that they dont like and
we dont benefit from. Further it gives us a means to reward
and give status to all our people without overloading the hierarchy
or inspiring resentments or hidden jealousies. But most of all
it gives us the potential to get the very best out of our people
on an ongoing and sustainable basis.
A key element of the approach
is to shatter the paradigm that progress is position. Reducing
it is not good enough - to succeed fully you will have to reverse
it - you will have to clearly link benefits and rewards and kudos
to something other than hierarchical status. This will overcome
the aspirations for structure.
The next step is to replace rigid structures with fluid teams
which can flex to meet the needs of the changing markets and
processes, and to harness the full potential of team members.
This can be helped ironically by introducing different forms
- clearly defined team processes and protocols
- the development of team skills and people development skills
- team assessment and self-management routines.
Build a culture
of empowerment, and ensure your people's authority grows in line
with their competence
How well does the authority you
grant your people match their competence?
How do you monitor the extent to which your people are empowered,
and how do you ensure that there is continuing growth in empowerment?
Empowerment is about pushing
decision making responsibility down through the organisation,
to the level where the best information exists. Empowerment is
a process which culminates in authorising individuals to make
the key decisions associated with their role. But the authorisation
is just the last step in the process (a point that is often missed
by those who are attempting to empower).
Empowerment is a process which firstly ensures the capability
of the individual, which ensures the relevant supportive structures,
which sets boundaries and terms of reference, and then
authorises the individual.
There are many benefits from
empowerment, providing it is approached correctly, and is not
just an abdication of authority. Good empowerment:
- makes greater use of your peoples skills and abilities
- removes bureaucracy and makes managers jobs easier
- establishes responsibilities and removes the excuses for failure
- provides for growth and development outside of a rigid hierarchy
- increases job satisfaction and motivation
- increases the flexibility and creativity of the organisation
As has been stated previously,
empowerment is a process, not merely an action. The main steps
in the process are as follows:
- evaluate the scope for delegating decision making authority
in each role
- understand the incumbents current capability and development
- agree a contract for development which will culminate in increased
authority - and agree boundaries and reference points for the
- ensure the development is delivered through training, coaching
- establish supporting structures to help the incumbent with
the decisions and to make them aware of the need for them to
- confirm that the incumbent is fully able to make the decision
in the best way, and work through any necessary improvements
- authorise (and officialise) the incumbent in their expanded
motivate your people to their best performance through a true
spirit of teamwork
How inspired are your people,
and what by?
How do you, as leader, provide them with the inspiration to do
their very best in their role, and in the challenges they face?
Much is talked about leadership,
and how managers need to become leaders. Perhaps the principles
outlined in these pages encourage you to realise that there is
still much we can do to improve our management, and not to abandon
it. But that should not detract from the need for management
to provide leadership. Sometimes a moments inspiration can be
worth hours of perspiration.
Leadership is about getting your people to catch your vision.
Its about inspiring them to take responsibility for making things
happen. It's about building an energy and enthusiasm in them
that makes things take off.
When your people are inspired
and enthused about the right things, their energy and creativity
is aligned with your plans, and the organisation can really move.
You can feel part of something that is really alive. As a result,
you will need to spend less time pushing and encouraging, and
picking up the pieces of half-hearted work. And your people will
work harder and longer, but feel that their work is quicker and
Providing inspiration is essentially
about lifting peoples eyes to see their own potential in the
context of the opportunities of any situation, and about making
them feel responsible for it.
We can begin to develop and provide inspiration by careful choice
of the questions we ask people. By inviting them to explore the
opportunities that their situation might have, by getting them
to see their potential in that, by inspiring them to develop
a vision for their future (even short term) and by building in
them the confidence that they can do it, and that they want to
Great orators can do this through speeches, but this is not the
best option for most of us. Although it looks like a short cut
to the above, we miss the bits that really inspire our people
and pay for the mistake through continuing to have to supply
the real energy ourselves. Questions may take us around the houses,
but if we ask them well we will hit all the right buttons.
the HR Process
policies, appraisals and rewards to actively support the vision
How does your HR (Human Resources)
process add value to your people?
How does your HR process encourage consistency, and a flow of
people for the challenges the company will face tomorrow?
If managers are taking responsibility
for the development and coaching of their people, why do we need
an HR process?
An HR process should exist to look after the links between managers
and the flow of development for the business as a whole. Done
well an HR process will understand and use all of the development
that can take place within each area of the business, and will
develop an overall strategy to ensure the company as a whole
has a flow of the people it needs.
It will also provide the tools, the strategy, the mechanisms
and the interfaces to individual managers in their own work to
develop and grow their people.
By having an HR process for the
business as a whole the company can maximise its use of its resources
and opportunities to develop its people for its future:
- It can ensure a rounded programme of development
- It can work toward consistency and a common compatible culture
- It can economically develop tools and approaches for general
- It can provide a source of specialist support and guidance
- And it can stimulate a vision and a strategy for people development
that the managers can buy into and work toward.
The main tools available to the
HR process in achieving the above are:
- Measures of growth and people satisfaction
- Policies for the development and growth of people
- Integrated fast-track programmes for certain individuals
- A vision and targets for people development
- Central training programmes and resources
- Standard procedures and processes for appraisal and development
- Consultancy support for individual managers
ensure your people remain happy and fulfilled
How happy are your people?
How do you assess the satisfaction of your people, the main factors
that contribute to that, and the impact of that on the quality
of their work?
Your people spend at least seven
hours a day physically at work. If they are satisfied they are
likely to spend the vast proportion of that time being there
mentally as well.
The principle of ensuring people satisfaction is about measuring
it, and then using the data to change factors which will increase
Satisfied people work with more
of their attention on the opportunities of the job. People who
enjoy their work tend to do it better, particularly where some
degree of judgment or creativity is required. In addition, higher
people satisfaction means that your ability to retain your people
is increased. And satisfied people are generally less resistant
to, or fearful of change.
The approach is essentially one
of undertaking a regular sampled survey, and using the results
to guide your policy decisions for the future.
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Management Systems Ltd 2003