Nov 26, 2018
In this episode we are going to continue our focus on the
People pillar of High Performance Teams. In particular, building
strategic development plans for each of your team members.
One of my great mentors, all through his books, obviously
never met the man, was basketball coaching legend, John Wooden. He
said, "I worry that business leaders are more interested in
material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a
strong organisation, and a strong organisation starts with caring
for their people."
When I refer to strategic development plans, I mean now that
you've got the right people in the right role, you need to
strategically develop them so they can be their absolute
To do that, you must have to genuinely, authentically care
about each and every one of them. Remember, Napoleon said, "Leaders
are dealers in hope." So often we get caught up with the business
commercials and the targets and the things we've got to do, and we
forget that the greatest legacy we can potentially leave on the
planet is the growth of the people in our team. Don't shortcut on
this. It's a simple process but pays big dividends in performance,
trust and legacy.
When I was working at the Queensland Reds, Super Rugby team as
high performance coach in 2015 every single player in every single
position had a development plan which outlined the physical,
technical and tactical capabilities the needed to be
successful in their role. The coaching staff worked tirelessly to
improve their skills throughout the year to build those new
What are the skills, education and experience that each of
your people need to perform their job to the absolute limit of
Not just what they should be capable of, but what's the
potential for them?
Remember, if you get all of your team all growing every single
week, every single month, improving in their own skills the entire
team performance is going to grow.
What's more than that, if you're facing some internal
resistance it might be because people are stalled in their
development. They've got a fixed rather than a growth mindset. One
of the best ways to shift a fixed mindset is to pour add some new
skill and knowledge into the minds of your people which starts to
broaden their mind and perspective. This brings new thoughts and
ideas to a problem or a particular piece of their work, and the
whole game changes.
Leaders are dealers in hope and key role of all leaders is
coaching. All coaches develop their people and they do it with a
clear strategy. This is not HR's job. HR will support you with the
things they need to do, but developing your people, working out the
plan is your job. It's also not the people that report to you. It's
not their job either. You've employed them. You've brought them in
to do a great job, now develop them. Make them amazing. Really
invest the time, the effort, the energy into developing them.
A strategic development plan has only a few steps. The first
thing is, you need to understand their personal dreams and goals.
What are they here for? What do they want in life and in their
career? This won’t be their only job in their career. They'll be
here for a while working for the company, and eventually they'll
move on. Don't bracket them and think, "I've just got to get the
ounce of sweat over them over the next few years, and then we're
done." No, think about what you can do for that person for their
entire life and career.
Start with learning what their big dreams and goals are, then
clarify what the current role is meant to do. What it would look
like if they were absolutely knocking it out of the park? What is
expected of them every single day?
This is being crystal clear about that role, which we covered
in the last episode.
Then do a gap analysis on where they are now, compared to
where they need to be on skills, education and experience.
Then plan how they’re going to accumulate those new
capabilities and regularly check in on them. That's it.
When you think about it, when we go back through the last
three episodes, where you got the right person in the right role.
That was absolutely vital because now everybody knows or is doing
something that makes sense for them, that plays to their strengths,
that's work they value, and now you're improving their performance
every single week. Well, as soon as you've got those three things
lined up, they are going to fly.
Chief, this might not seem like a lot, but whenever I walk
into a team that wants to become high performing, this is one of
the first things I look for. I look for how much they're developing
their people. If there's no plan to develop each of their people, I
know this is one of the very first things we need to do.
You don't have to invest a lot of money. You can create all
sorts of ways and means of sharing information, podcasting, doing
group book reviews in your team. You can cut corners on this
develop or save money on this development at every
So, Chief, that process again. Start with dreams and goals,
then go with role definition, what is required of them. Then, do
the gap analysis on their skills from where they are now to what is
required to perform the job to their utmost ability. Then, work out
the skills, the experience, and the knowledge, and the education
you're going to give them over the next 12 months. And then,
execute and get that done so every single week they're improving
and growing as an individual.
If you think for a minute about maybe someone in your career
who's really taken you under their wing and given you the right
development and gone the extra mile, you never forget that person.
That someone becomes special in your heart. We often talk about
them as being mentors. Imagine the difference you can make in the
world if you do this for everyone in your team.
In fact, imagine if you didn't. Imagine for a minute you
didn't have any development plans for any of the people in your
team. What would that be doing to your performance? How much would
you be leaving on the table? It's just a fantastic opportunity to
get quick wins.
Spend some time and get a strategic development plan for each
of your people.
That sums it up for this week. As always, remember to stay