Several years ago, one of my colleagues conducted an informal survey of a group of business-technology leaders about their priorities. Top priorities included seeking and supporting new growth opportunities, managing costs, doing more with less, and building more collaborative relationships with their business partners. None of them considered employee development as a top priority. In fact, it was at the bottom of the list.
There probably were many legitimate reasons--the dramatic change in the economy, leaner IT budgets, the need to optimize the business, just to name a few. But with recovery well under way and jobs starting to come back, maybe those priorities need to change.
Some business leaders say employee development should always stay at the top of the list (I've gotten letters from many of you making that very point). Jack Welch, one of the world's most admired CEOs, said last week that he spent more than half of his time evaluating people when he was leading General Electric. "We lived by touching employees. People are the whole game," he said during a discussion at the World Business Forum in New York City.
Welch said he's surprised at how little attention is paid to succession planning these days. "It's a failure of management and accountability not to have a CEO in place," he said in response to the trend that has seen many companies turn to retired executives to come back and lead their companies, rather than developing potential CEOs from within. "Strategy is about getting good leaders first and strategy second."
What are you doing to develop, keep, or recruit a team that wants to win? To help them grow? To make sure they're having fun? I'd love to share some of your creative ideas in a future column, so please let me know.
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