Getting practical about developing people

So how do I adjust my attention so that I’m developing people?

Several commitments come to mind. Committing to:

  1. develop technology so that we aren’t fixing technology. If there are three rooms that need access to the internet at the same time, it would make sense to equip all of them with similar screens, laptops, and cables. That way, we can develop people who know how to work with that one system, who can be available to help.
  2. develop personal planning technologies (calendars, checklists) that help my week to anticipate the problems that may occur. Because there are some disruptions that happen because of my lack of planning and informing, I can plan more effectively.
  3. keep this grid on my whiteboard as a reminder of my priorities.
  4. walk away from fixing the things that are not my responsibility, whether technology or people. Sometimes, when I fix something, I am eliminating the opportunity for someone else to develop their trouble-shooting skills.
  5. spend time every week, every day, every month developing people. Sometimes this looks like developing courses. Sometimes this is meeting regularly with individuals and groups to reflect together. Sometimes this looks like policy development. And sometimes this looks like walking people through the ways I fix technology. The more I make external the processes that are intuitive to me, the more I help others grow.

IMG_0208I’m guessing that I will never spend all of my time on developing people. There are always times for counseling, for crisis intervention, for getting the locks and clocks and timers to work. And none of us likes the levite who walks past the broken person bleeding beside the road.

But spending a bit of time reflecting on what our priorities should be can help everyone grow.

So, what do you think? What else can help us move from fixing technology to developing people?

One thought on “Getting practical about developing people

  1. Rich Dixon

    I wonder…do we avoid developing people because we unconsciously like feeling indispensable? Maybe we need to be self-aware of our desire to be the expert, the “go-to” guy. Just as the church once fought for the perceived power that accompanied a Latin bible, perhaps we occasionally fail to empower others because we may lose some sort of “power.”

    Your example illustrates the self-defeating nature of clinging to control. Empowering others leverages our knowledge and frees us to build instead of repair.


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