“… developing talent is business’s most important task – the sine qua non of competition in a knowledge economy.” – Peter Drucker

The foundation of a great company is the way it develops people, providing the right experiences, such as learning in different jobs, learning from other people, giving candid feedback, providing coaching, education and training. Development is also critical to attracting and retaining people. Talented people are inclined to leave if they feel they are not growing and stretching.

Making training and development at all levels of the organization attractive and valuable is a challenge at the management level. I personally have observed a level of cynicism at various management-training classes, that suggests many managers do not find the training pertinent to their jobs, or that training is a waste of time. Managers should be asked to provide feedback to their managers, and then be given tasks to implement the ideas or tools presented at these training classes. That said, training is only one part of the equation – development primarily happens through a sequence of stretch jobs, coaching and mentoring.

Engendering a culture of learning, as well as making it acceptable for individuals to pursue ‘alternative’ tracks, ultimately broadens the skills and competencies of people. Ken Blanchard says’, ‘What people want from a company is the training that will teach them new skills that will help them add value wherever they are.’