Build an Amazing People-Magnet Machine: Know and Invest in Your People

This is the last in a series of three blogs about what it takes to build what my Growth Whisperers podcast partner Brad Giles and I call an amazing people-magnet machine, and to make sure you have a constant flow of amazing people who want to work for you.

If you missed parts 1 and 2, here are the links:

Now on to part 3: I’ve said before that the secret sauce of growing a successful company is to have strong people on your team. Hiring the right people is just the beginning. If you want to strengthen and retain, you have to invest in your people. You need to know them and you have to invest in their growth and development.

Know your people

Know what they want, where they are, their workload, their challenges in life, their aspirations.

If you know your people well, it’s easier to figure out what you can do to help them to grow.

(I picked this up from Mark Cuban when we talked to him, pregame, years ago.)

Understand where they want to be in three-to-five years and work with them to get there.

As a manager, even if you aren’t sure if someone has the ability to get there, it’s in everyone’s best interests to give them appropriate opportunities to stretch and try, in real time.

This is the difference between buying something you see in a window and going in to try it on to see if it fits properly.

For example, two executives said they wanted to eventually be a CEO, so were given opportunities to prove – to themselves and the company – their appetite for, and ability to do the job. After a year, one of the candidates found they loved the work and the other didn’t.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to provide coaching and training and lots of tangible feedback about what’s working and not, along the way – and in postmortems from project teams. The person should also report on their own progress and reflect on how they can do better next time.

Invest in the growth of your existing good and great people

Your best people are like your flagship product or store. You’re very proud of them, they do great work and are examples to others. But when we get busy and don’t put enough energy into these great assets, we miss the opportunity to keep them engaged and happy, as they develop and grow – and for them to train and develop the people underneath them.

Provide training or coaching. The best investment you can make in people is to accelerate their career progression with additional knowledge or capability. This approach is also a great example of what’s possible for others in your company.

  • Many great universities offer three-day programs or training courses.
  • Involve them in your projects to contribute something beyond their day job.
  • Give them a challenging project to do on their own. Some people learn and thrive when they are thrown into the deep end of the pool.
  • Give them new leadership responsibilities. If someone wants to be a manager, ask them to mentor others to start working on their management skills.
  • Invest in a coach to help accelerate their growth. And, if you do, make sure you use the Coaching Triad (chapter 14, Your Oxygen Mask First) so that you stay in sync with them and their coach about what’s working, what’s not and what they should focus on.

In summary of this series, to turn up the power of your amazing people magnet machine:

  1. Have a great people strategy
  2. Reinforce what makes your company an amazing place to work with evidence back it up
  3. Ask your people to proactively recruit candidates
  4. Continuously develop people, and get them engaged to increase their capabilities
  5. Let them shine as examples of what’s possible at your company.

The Challenge

  • What do you need to do to get to know your people better?
  • What can you do to invest in their growth?
  • Who are you going to get to work on this, with you, to make it happen?

For more on this topic, check out Episode 37 of The Growth Whisperers podcast.