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Article -> Developing People to Say "Yes"

Date Added: November 2017

It amazes me how many organizations are successful despite not being able to develop people (also called talent management). This is not because they don’t want to develop people, they simply don’t know how.

Developing people is not easy, and it may be even more difficult to explain how to do it as it appears to be a gift for some leaders. A common comment from leaders is they are too busy doing their job to invest in developing people.

I have long stated that a successful leader’s job is to develop people, coach people, help your people solve problems so they learn, etc. A majority of projects or daily work should be done before or after the actual work day if a leader is effectively developing people.

Many do not like this so they choose to do their actual work during the day and ignore what should be a leader’s priority – to develop people. On the other hand, people need to be willing to learn, grow and develop; and a corporate culture should allow this.

When asked how I learned, other than having many informal mentors, my response is, “when I heard about a new project, I raised my hand and said, ‘yes, I’d like to be involved.’” This is how I learned about brand strategy, mergers and acquisitions, developing people, and so on. None were part of my actual job until I proactively said “yes.”

There is a saying that asks, “What would the world be like if:”

  • Michelangelo said, “I don’t do ceilings."
  • Noah said, "I don't do boats."
  • David said, "I don't do Goliaths."
  • Mary said, "I don't do virgin births."
  • Jesus said, "I don't do crosses."
What would the world truly look like? Leaders must “do people development.” People must “do things they may not currently do to learn.” Together, this is part of how organizations can develop talent and succession.

Good leaders should know the interests and strengths of their people. This allows leaders to proactively seek out people for projects to encourage them to participate and develop new skills. People should ask what is on the horizon and proactively volunteer to participate in projects and cross-functional teams.

Developing people is a process. It takes time from many one-on-one meetings to discuss topics relevant to both individuals; and topics which not only relate to work, but also home, family and community. Development involves all areas of our lives.

This includes getting to know people personally as what happens at home has a large impact at work – positively or negatively. If a person is having problems at home, this affects work. Having a close, trusting and empathetic relationship is part of people development.

This enhances a leader’s skills, while also strengthening trust in the employee with the leader. It can also help the employee become a better spouse or parent. The relevance is this can and should apply to the person becoming a better leader at work.

If organizations are seeking new ways to develop people/talent and don’t have the internal personnel or skills to do this, they should seek external assistance. Gaining external assistance is important – especially if your organization genuinely values people as the No. 1 priority and success factor.

Let us give thanks to individuals capable of developing others, to individuals who love to raise their hand and say “yes;” and remember that as bad as things sometime seem, give thanks to those who have said “yes” in the past.

David Yeghiaian is committed to inspiring others through faith and leadership. Reach him at

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