Thursday, August 25, 2011

Talking About Development

Development = Winning
This is part three of my discussion of my corporate values.  This week, I want to talk about development.  In corporate parlance, you hear professionals talk about developing “human resources.”  I disagree.  A business is not made of resources; it is made out of people.  It is people who sell your product.  It is people who innovate and help grow the firm.  Finally, it is people who will purchase your product.

Once you realize you are dealing with people instead of resources your attitude changes about how you do business.  Instead of wringing every ounce of productivity out of your resources like a technocrat, you will start behaving like a choir director attempting to get everyone to sing the same tune with enthusiasm.  It is a significant paradigm shift.    
Since we are dealing with people instead of resources, a successful business person should do everything in his power to make the people who work for them successful.  In a modern day economy it means the following: 
1)      A clear understanding of mathematics up to the Algebra level, even better an understanding of calculus.
2)      A clear understanding of science including basic physics, chemistry and biology.
3)      The ability to effectively communicate with the written and spoken work in both formal and informal settings.
4)      Being able to use a word processing program, spread sheet, and presentation software.
5)      Understand project management techniques.
6)      Be able to work with others in a team environment.
7)      Understand the basic cannon of Western Philosophy, Religion and Literature.
8)      Be able to write basic HTML and CSS.

This level of proficiency is earned by college graduates.  Unfortunately, we do not produce enough of these people each year to fill the roles in our modern workforce.  This means that business leaders have to provide training and education to the work force.  This means providing in house training to employees and providing access to continuing education at local colleges.  I find this doubly important for technical professionals who have their skills erode every 18 months as newer and better ways come along.  I know that I am struggling to keep up as XML Web Services are replaced with WCF and HTML 5 becomes a web standard. 
For a business to be successful, you need to be developing your work force.  As they grow they become more productive and you have the opportunity to make more money.  This creates an upward spiral where a well-developed workforce becomes a competitive advantage. 
Nothing is more frustrating that being put into situation where you are destined to fail.  Developing employees and co-workers mitigates this risk.  If you are going to winning company then you are going to teach your people how to win.  This is why development is so important to me and my company.