When is it OK NOT to Develop? Hint: Never.

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appeared in
on Leadership

Here’s a question I often get from managers:

“I have employees that
don’t want to be developed. They just want to come to work, do their jobs, and
go home. Development isn’t for everyone, right? I can’t force them to develop
if they don’t want to!”

My answer? Yes, you and your employees are free to ignore
that stupid
development plan
form that HR is forcing down your throats. But only if the
employee can check off each of the following items and you’re willing to sign
off on it:

– No changes in technology, now or next 2-3 years

– No changes in work processes, now or next 1-2

– No changes in customer preferences, requirements

– Can score a 10/10 on all technical/job specific


– Can score a 10/10 on all key behavioral competencies


– Company growth will remain flat or decline next
5 years


– There will be no organizational changes
requiring new skills


– No interest or potential for promotion


– No interest or possibility of lateral move


– No need to fill in for team, cross-train


– No new projects or assignments coming up


Could you check them all? Probably not. In today’s
hypercompetitive, white-water, VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and
ambiguity) business environment, if you are not growing you are dying.

Standing still is not an option. Continuous improvement is a
business imperative, and quite frankly, a condition of employment. Just as
important as “coming to work every day”.

As a leader, letting your employees off the hook for
development because “they don’t want to
is a cop-out and weak leadership. You’re letting the employee run the risk of
becoming expendable and unemployable, and you’re saying it’s OK to run your
team at less than optimal performance.

Too hard line? Please leave a comment if you agree or