One of the top reasons executives look to a leadership advisor like me is for help in improving their people development skills. Like you, these executives have a strong desire to create a work environment that sets their employees up for success. They know that a healthy, productive environment leads to employees who are more focused on the success of the business.

But people development skills don’t come easy — even for the most astute leader.

My clients, regardless of team size, type or personnel issue, have one thing in common: They need help identifying how each employee (regardless of title or position) defines success, and they need a strategy for creating a professional development plan that gets results.

Step 1: Identify Success on their Terms
Many times my clients think that all their employees define success as money and promotion. Clearly, money and promotion are valued by employees, but why these things are valued above others is equally important. Here are some questions to ask that will help you understand individual employee needs and, more importantly, individual employee motivations.

  • Is the employee looking for wealth, a certain quality of life or something else?
  • Does the employee have family financial obligations that shape the way they view success?
  • Does the employee desire to be promoted because their peers are being promoted, because they think it’s “time,” or because they feel they’ll be challenged more in the new position?
  • Is it the title or something else that gives the employee satisfaction and provides fulfillment?
  • Ask probing questions like these until you uncover your employee’s personal definition of success.

Step 2: Get Buy-In from the Employee
Once you know what motivates your employee, engage them in incorporating goals and tactics into their performance plan. That way the employee can clearly see when s/he has accomplished or deviated from the plan.

A jointly developed plan accomplishes two things. First, it leads my clients to better manage their employee’s expectations. And second, it leads their employees to better manage themselves toward achieving the goals they now “own.”

Success Breeds Success
Is this two-step process too simple to be truly valuable? Absolutely not! The reality of human nature is that personal contribution and ownership in a plan or an idea yields an exponentially higher opportunity for success. Ultimately, when employees are actively engaged in the creation of a personal development plan, they are much more likely to ensure that the company’s interests and goals are met along with their own.

Additional Resources: Destination Success by Dwight Bain and Building a High Morale Workplace by Anne Bruce

At Kinetic Insights, our PathFinders are skilled in helping leaders unleash the greatness in themselves and in their organizations. Call or email us for a quick discussion that just might put you and your team on the path to significant change.

Gail A. Froelicher is Founder, CEO and PathFinder of Kinetic Insights, LLC. For over 11 years, Gail and her team of PathFinders have journeyed with their customers to forge successful paths in rapidly changing business environments.

Gail A. Froelicher, CEO and Founder of Kinetic Insights, is an experienced executive with a proven and consistent record of established and emerging technology businesses. Throughout her 30 year career she has been successful in key leadership positions by motivating and developing teams that stress quality, integrity and respect for associates and business partners. View full bio