Drucker’s wisdom never ceases to amaze.  The practicality of what he wrote about is really impressive.  For example, if you’re like me, you’ve got people that you need to develop.  Some that work for you.  Others that are volunteers but really are part of the essential ingredient that makes your team work.  And you need to figure out how to help them develop into all that they could be.  They’re raw products, in a very real sense.  So what do you do?  The question might first be, what DON’T you do.  I love this idea from The Daily Drucker

  • Don’t try to build on people’s weaknesses.  You may dream that they’ll become something they’re not…but the reality is that you have to do what you can with their personalities as they are.  All too often, we zero in on their problems; where they fall short.  Attempting to reconstruct them is most often counter productive.  If they’re adults, in some ways you’re dealing with concrete that is set.
  • Don’t take a narrow or short-sighted view of the areas for development.  Development is bigger than the specifics of their job.  It’s about their life.  All of it.  How does this fit?  If you’re only focusing on helping them in the areas that are specific to their job you’re missing the greater opportunity to enable them to grow in areas that might really be life-changing.  Why take a narrow focus if broadening it out would be so much more impactful?
  • Don’t focus on promise or potential.  Focus on performance.  What they’re actually delivering.  One of the traps for many of us is to project on our team members the idea that they should be held accountable for what they COULD be.  Why not just focus on what they CAN do and then hold them to that performance?

So, if you don’t do those things, what DO you focus on?  Focus on their strengths.  If you focus on their strengths, you’ll be able to make tought demands and review performance.  Sounds good to me!  I bet it will to my team to.  I’ll let you know.

By the way, this idea is from the September 7th reading in The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation.  I love it.  It’s part of my daily routine.

Three Things to Avoid in People Development