Employee development as a motivational tool

Hah! Now we know for a fact, most managers are ineffective! Surprise, surprise. A study by Heike Bruch and the late, great Sumantra Ghoshal find that 10% of managers take purposeful action, 40% are energetic but unfocused, 30% have low energy, are little focused and tend to procrastinate, and 10% are focused but not very energetic.

Whose fault is this? Well, when I developed the model of competencies required by top managament in a large industrial company, number one on the list was “Create the conditions in which employees can maximise their commitment and value to the organisation”. So you will know what my view is.
During the recent holiday period, I visited a client abroad where we have 14 key employees doing the bquest program. I met them in person at the start 4 months ago but I have been working regularly with them on their development through Skype since then. So the visit was to get them together, with their top managers, and check the energy, focus and commitment to results from everyone were still high. (In many development programs, you sometimes get a dip after the initial burst of enthusiasm.)

After the meeting, which was high energy and fun and showed a lot of cross-function development actions were going on, one of the top managers said to me “I was shocked, in a positive way, how person X has changed. Before, he just did his basic job. He did it well enough, but now he is finding time to make important improvements to his team and to the business.”

By using bquest, the top management in the client company were ‘creating the conditions’ for their key employees. In effect, they were saying to them things like “We think you are important to the company. Your ideas are important to us. You have permission to look at new ways of doing things. Put your mark on the business. Show us what you can do. If you want to do something different, we and bquest will support and help you.”

Employee development, if done well like bquest, is highly motivational; it inspires, it energises and, by focusing, it achieves results.


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