Friday, June 12, 2009

Potential on the Table

A few years ago, I met a great speaker / strategist at a conference. We talked for a while, and he said, your employer must love you. I replied, "my employer does not even know what I think about."

In the workforce, I wonder how many times we see the potential of others and whether we even look for it? If we did, what would we see? I am sure that in any given group of people there are people who would love to delve into something great and significant, but are restricted by their job description.

That is such a shame, because people who have a desire to do something generally do, and if they cannot do it where they are, they will go find another place to share their talent, ideas and energy.

You've heard of the lateral promotion. There's also lateral movement from organization to organization. And then there's promotion by leaving. Often times people leave an organization for more of something. More money. More opportunity. More leadership opportunities. More what ever it is they need.

In the book "First Break all the Rules", the writer busts open common held management myths. He says investing in employees is a myth, because we only have to invest in those who can help the organization move forward.

It's a good point. Invest time and energy into the people who can be part of the future. But this brings me back to my first question: do we ask our employees to put their potential on the table? Would we know who they are?

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