Culture: Involvement – Capability Development

by Ron Potter

When I see low scores in the area of Capability Development, they seem to be driven by a couple of issues:

Leadership View

The leader and corporation almost always feel like they’re providing a great deal of training, education, and skill development opportunities and therefore don’t understand why the employees give them low scores in this area.

Employee View

Yes, the corporation gives lots of “training” but always where the corporation wants them to develop, not in the area where they want to grow.

Corporations often:

  • bring in trainers for the day
  • provide seminars
  • even provide opportunities to go off-site to one of these training sessions, seminars, or continuing education.

BUT, all of this capability development happens in the area where the company wants the employee to improve.  And it’s directed at improving the employee in the area where the corporation has them positioned.

One person said to me “I’m grateful to the company for providing me education and skills that have moved me to the top of the accounting department.  It provides me a great salary.  BUT, even though that’s an area where I have skills, that’s not the area where I have a passion.  I would much rather learn about and have an opportunity in the marketing area”.

I worked with Dr. Cloraire Rapaille for a few years.  He wrote a great book titled The Culture Code.  One of the Corporate Studies that Dr. Rapaille did for several major corporations was to help answer the question of what motivates people in the corporate world.  I believe it was in that corporate study where Dr. Rapaille coined the team “Future Potential Self.”  He discovered that people are not motivated by money, public recognition, or other forms of corporate motivational efforts.  People are motivated by what helps them get to what they see as their future potential self.

In my story above, the person’s “future potential self” was in marketing, not accounting.

Future Potential Self

So what does it take to provide training for a person’s Future Potential Self?

As a leader, you need to know what the Future Potential Self of your team members!  It requires that the leader get to know their team members on a human level.  Not just knowing their skill level.  Not just knowing their competencies.  But knowing who they are as a person.

One of my clients told me a story about putting in some long-hard hours on a particular project and yet felt very rewarded by their boss when the project was over.  When I asked what made them feel that way, they told me that their boss bought them the exact guitar they had been dreaming about.

Was it expensive?  It was very nice quality, but it was not considered a really expensive high-end guitar.

So what made it so special for them?

  • My boss knew that I loved playing in the church praise band.
  • My boss knew that any extra money we had right now went to caring for our new baby.
  • My boss was listening enough to know exactly which guitar I was desiring.

In short, their boss knew them as a human being!

That’s capability development.  Yes, they provided training courses to help them get better at their job.  Yes, they were offered off-site education to help improve their skills.  But, when added to the fact that their boss knew what they were desiring personally, that’s what improved the scores in Capability Development.

Know your people!  It makes everything else more valuable.

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