Who doesn't love a quick fix? In our 21st-century western culture, this is practically part of our DNA. Got a pain? Pop a pill. Want a perfect lawn? Spray this around. Looking to lose weight? Drink this. VOILA! Problem solved!
Certainly, this is present in our workplace as well. Want more employee engagement? Put managers through a two-hour communications training. Want to do better hiring? Get someone to write you the perfect interview questions. For non-profits, want more donations? Send another mailer.
Might there be some positive return from these efforts? Maybe. At some level. For some period of time. However, the likelihood of meaningful performance improvement at the desired level is slim. Are you okay with a quick fix that yields a quick uptick in performance, or are you wanting real results?
The quick fix is appealing because it often requires limited investment of time exploring the situation and various routes to pursue change. The initial time investment is the starting place for real change. Note that "time investment" doesn't have to be a 6-month initiative with dreadful weekly meetings. It could be just an hour or two with the right people at the table focusing and thinking together.
If you want to take the time to do a root cause analysis and solution design, here are questions to ask.
Whether it’s one key employee you’re supporting in their development, or a large-scale training program across a company, there are consistent strategies that drive the success of such endeavors. These are applicable regardless of the development channel: formal learning (classroom or online), on-the-job training, stretch projects, etc.
At a local coffeehouse recently, I overheard an informal job interview taking place. I grew queasy listening to the story that the early career job candidate told.
“I’m looking at other opportunities because I’m not challenged. I don’t understand what my growth prospects are, or if they exist at this company. We’ve been bought. That was a year ago and everything is still in upheaval. I’ve excelled at everything that I’ve been handed, and I’ve asked for more, but no one will talk about that. I’m ready to go where I can grow.”
Ironically, the candidate’s currently employer is formally recognized as a Best Place to Work. *sigh*