Why do organisations invest in people development, and what do they expect from their investment?
Surely, the main reason is to achieve individual and organisational change in behaviour. Whether the focus is leadership, team work, integration, evolving cultures, innovation or whatever, the ultimate success of a well-designed people development initiative has to be an observable change in behaviour, doesn't it?
This is about more than imparting knowledge, more than learning new skills. It's about people choosing to behave differently. Many training programmes claim to "change behaviour", but I fervently believe that the only person who can change their own behaviour is that very same person.
Our role as leaders in people development, is to help participants on our programmes to generate a personal desire for change. To enable them to develop a real enthusiasm for doing things differently and for them to make informed decisions about how they want to be in the future.
For an individual to become aware of how they can do something differently, the benefits involved and to be able to experiment and get feedback on new ways of behaving, means being able to try new ways of working through a carefully managed process.
To achieve this, we need to go beyond intellectual stimulation, beyond teaching new knowledge and demonstrating new skills, into the area of emotional engagement.
A desire to change comes from the heart, not the head and so the development process needs to engage with people at an emotional level as well as at an intellectual level. For this to happen, the programme needs to include an element of challenge, a perceived risk, or an adventure. Perhaps in an unfamiliar environment or in a new context. Our ambition is to create a safe place from which people can experiment with new behaviours, try new approaches and get useful feedback on how they are coming across enabling them to grow in confidence whilst maintaining their integrity and authenticity.
We then need to provide strategies, coaching and ongoing support, as each person steps forward on their developmental journey.
How often do we hear "People are our greatest asset" and "It's our people that make the difference".
Well if people are at the heart of our organisations, and I believe they are, then we need to help them to be the best they can be through development that starts with a personal desire to do something differently.
Invest in your people and keep the change.