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What’s the Most Important Thing You Do to Develop Your Teams?

What’s the Most Important Thing You Do to Develop Your Teams?

At the beginning of every year, each member of our team shares development goals. Throughout the year, we’re proactive in looking for training and development opportunities aligned to their goals. When we find one, all a team member needs to do is tell me the cost, the time they need, and how they think it will benefit them in their job. In addition, I send books and articles to the team on topics that may be of interest. We participate in frequent team-building activities. Sometimes they are around the behavioral assessment we use in our recruiting process. Other times it’s a community service project, or maybe just a team lunch. We share what we’ve learned through professional development with one another in our weekly team meetings.

Jolene Risch
President, Risch Results | Dallas, Texas
Vistage member since 2020

The most important thing is to find ways for people to experience different aspects of the business. Start by having the conversation with the employee to find out if they are interested in developing professionally. If they are, let them know you will find ways for them to have different experiences throughout the company. Have them lead a committee of cross-functional team members or spend time learning a different position by shadowing or doing a rotation into different departments. Have them attend meetings they would not normally attend at different levels in the company. This comes with some coaching and mentoring, and maybe even specific training. Assign them to bring questions or key takeaways from their experiences.

Andrea Fredrickson
President, Revela | Omaha, Nebraska
Vistage member since 2014

Developing our people and our teams is critical. I work with each of my direct reports in finding development opportunities that they are excited about and buy into. Without the buy-in and the willingness to learn and stretch, development dollars end up wasted.

Julie Thomas
President, ValueSelling Associates, Inc. | Rancho Santa Fe, California
Vistage member since 2014

Mentor younger business leaders. Each month at ForensisGroup, we watch “TED Talk Fridays,” because I believe strongly in cultivating a culture of intellectual curiosity and personal fulfillment.

Mercy Tolentino Steenwyk
President & CEO, ForensisGroup Inc. | Pasadena, California
Vistage member since 2007

The most important thing is to find ways for people to experience different aspects of the business. Start by having the conversation with the employee to find out if they are interested in developing professionally. If they are, let them know you will find ways for them to have different experiences throughout the company. Have them lead a committee of cross-functional team members or spend time learning a different position by shadowing or doing a rotation into different departments. Have them attend meetings they would not normally attend at different levels in the company. This comes with some coaching and mentoring, and maybe even specific training. Assign them to bring questions or key takeaways from their experiences.

Andrea Fredrickson
President, Revela | Omaha, Nebraska
Vistage member since 2014

Pay attention to culture. You can feel a culture when you walk through the door. Your employees will vote with their feet if you do not work every day to offer them an extraordinary experience while valuing their contributions. Be a coach, not a manager. Your employees do not like micromanagers. If you coach individuals so that they can become their best selves, you will be able to give and get real feedback. Coaching is a gift to be cherished in any organization. Develop career paths. Many employees will give up compensation if you are focused on helping them grow and learn. If you are spending more on finding new talent, divert those funds to keeping and developing the great talent you already have.

John Dame
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Vistage Chair since 2007
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