The Both/And Equation

The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they surpass him or her in knowledge and ability – Fred A. Manske, Jr.

We have an upcoming interview with Tom Griffin, Chief Teaching Officer of U.S. Cellular, and in preparation I was reading some of his articles and work. One of the key tenets of leadership philosophy at U.S. Cellular is the belief that developing people is as important as business results. It’s the both/and relationship between both accomplishing the target objectives and developing the skills and capabilities of those who work in the company. They recognize that only by increasing their own people capabilities can they continue to develop innovation and advantage. Because of course, as the market continues to shift and change so rapidly, new solutions will always be needed. If the company becomes satisfied with accomplishing business objectives alone, without developing new ideas and skills simultaneously, you’ll quickly find yourself at a loss to compete.

That, plus remember what studies have shown people want most from their companies and leaders:

  1. Senior management’s sincere interest in employee well-being
  2. Opportunity an employee has to improve skills and capabilities
  3. Organization’s reputation for social responsibility

Creating opportunity for people to develop skills isn’t just providing increased competitive advantage for the company.   It’s also valuing and respecting everyone’s innate interest in personal and professional growth.  It’s a positive loop – develop people and they will naturally apply those skills and ideas to develop your business too.