The Bamboo Project Blog: Organizational Potential=Staff Potential
The Bamboo Project Blog
APRIL 19, 2007
The Bamboo Project Blog « Reorganizing My Personal Learning Environment | Main | Lifelong Learning in Action » Organizational Potential=Staff Potential Via Doing Well by Doing Good comes a great video in which Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender asks a question that all nonprofits should be asking themselves: "How can we expect an organization to reach its full potential if we arent ensuring that our staff are reaching their full potential?" Thats a really profound question, I think, especially for organizations that are built upon the knowledge and skills of their employees. A few suggestions for positioning your organization so that its more supportive of individual growth. Hire people who are interested in and working on their own personal and professional development. Hollender says that when Seventh Generation is hiring, they ask people about what theyre doing to support their own growth. If a person cant answer that question well, then Seventh Generation isnt interested. Be more mindful in your daily work. Hollender points out that even organizations that are supposedly all about change still do their work unconsciously. He suggests that by paying attention to what youre doing and why youre doing it, you will be more likely to make changes that support growth. Hollender makes mindfulness about work practices a regular part of his staff meetings. Help staff identify and play to their strengths. Were very focused on helping people uncover and "overcome" their weaknesses, but theres much to be said for helping people play to their strengths. The best managers know how to structure work and responsibilities so that they capitalize on what their people do best. Then they help staff get even better at it. Make staff career and professional development planning a part of your organizational and evaluation processes. Every staff person should have a career plan that they regularly revisit and are working on. If they did, we might not be facing the current nonprofit leadership crisis. Encourage staff to develop and maintain portfolios of their work. Reflect on these portfolios as part of the evaluation process and use them to develop professional goals for the next evaluation period. Create and nurture a climate of learning. Make it clear that growth is part of your organizational culture by proving it through your practices. Encourage personal learning projects and and the tools and resources that support lifelong learning. Dont automatically block websites that you think arent directly related to your organizational mission. Many staff will be using them to learn new things that could benefit you. Consider allowing staff to set aside a certain percentage of their time to devote to personal learning projects, as many of the best companies have tried to do. Frequently its been from these projects that companies have found their greatest innovations. I know. All of this feels like a luxury you cant afford. But to my mind, these are really investments in your organization that you cant afford to ignore. Most cost next to nothing--its really about making time and being intentional in developing your staff. We have nonprofits that are entirely built on the idea of small investments in people creating big change. Why dont we see that the same thing is true for ourselves? April 19, 2007 in career , excellence , Expectations , learning , Management , professional development , Skills and Knowledge , Staff Motivation , Workforce development | Permalink TrackBack TrackBack URL for this entry: [link] Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Organizational Potential=Staff Potential : Comments You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post. Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment Posted by: | This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted. Your comment could not be posted. 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