I´ve been thinking about budgets-my own (always) but also the budgets for developing employees. I know that depending on the size of your company, well, you might not really have a budget per se. Still, it is possible (as I´ve pointed out numerous times the benefits of books that can teach us something about personal and professional growth) to help your people grow even though you might have budgetary restrictions.
Think of this: what if you could use your employees as tutors, people with specific areas of expertise that could be applied not only to their jobs but to the positions-and some of the baffling challenges that come along, sometimes on a daily basis-of their colleagues? In other words, why not encourage your publicity director to offer other people tips on how to handle the media, promote the company, use appropriate language with customers and prospects? What about having your finance guru hold occasional learning sessions on ways to save money for other departments? Instead of calling upon your computer wizards to solve every employee´s computer problem ask them if they can develop a cheat sheet that will rescue their coworkers, especially if the technical people are out sick or having lunch or dealing with a bigger emergency?
The brain trust in any company is usually underused. How can say that without really knowing for sure? I just know it, because we´re simply too busy to ask each other about how we do our jobs. We´re too stressed doing what we often already have too little time to do. But wouldn´t it be great if we could learn something from our colleagues on a regular basis? This is often the goal when mentoring partnerships are set up; it´s about learning for everyone.
One of the things that keep us tethered to our work lives is the notion of being valued. Yeah, yeah; I´m repeating myself for a change, but truly when we feel valued we tend to put more of ourselves into the project; we´re willing to risk a little more; and we´re even more open to any criticism that may result from our efforts. I mean that. Well, another great motivator is our chance to keep learning. How many times have you talked to someone who is happy in her job, because she´s almost (or always-I´m willing to be optimistic) always learning something new? Conversely, how often have you wanted to leave for lunch and never return because you´re not learning, you´re stagnating? Okay, now you understand what I´m talking about.
Next time: more about the benefits of "staying in school" no matter where you are