Two company executives were discussing the considerable cost of training and developing people within their organisation. The chief financial officer asked the CEO, "What happens if we invest in people and they leave?" The CEO looked directly at the CFO, paused and then replied, "What happens if we don't invest in people - and they stay?"
A thought-provoking question, right? In most companies, regardless of size, some people are like dead wood - handling responsibilities, striving to meet deadlines and receiving their pay, but not growing or becoming solid contributors to the organization's mission and goals. There might be other factors involved, but often we simply have failed to invest in them.
We see advertisements and commercials about financial investments - how to increase one's net worth or savings for the future, especially for those approaching retirement age. However, there is probably no greater investment than to share one's time, energy and experience with other people, regardless of whether results feel like "success."
It is far better to invest in people and lose some that move on to better opportunities than not to invest and become burdened with people operating well below their potential and capabilities.
It can be argued the true mark of a leader is not what occurs while he is in control, but what happens after he leaves. Does the work continue and grow, or does it stagnate or die? A dedicated leader investing in and developing people that work for his or her organization will leave an enduring legacy, whether those individuals remain with the company or leave for key leadership roles at other places.
By contrast, poor leaders leave unstable, even crumbling enterprises when they are removed from the picture, much like a house of cards. Their legacy, often because of selfishness, pride and an unwillingness to invest in others, ends in failure and futility.
In the past maybe someone invested in you. Whether you lead large corporations, have your own businesses, are managers or even employees in a small department, we each have a unique, significant sphere of influence. So, Who are you investing in? And if you're not investing in them, who is?