Take away my factories, my plants; take away my railroads, my transportation; take away my money; strip me of all these, but leave me my people and in two or three years I will have them all again. – Andrew Carnegie
Many times, we fail to recognize the value of people that we are working with. This is especially true with many businesses in the sub-continent.
I had a job from June 2004 to August 2009 at a mid-sized IT company. I am purposely not naming it here in the post.
So I had spent a little over 5 years officially, and more than 8 years in total as I also worked prior to 2004. I was the Chief Technology Officer at that time.
On my last day in the company, my immediate supervisor was not present during the farewell. That was slightly disappointing for me.
After I left the company, after about 8-9 months, they discovered that I was working with one of their clients, with whom the company had stopped working with since 2007. And that, according to the company, was a violation.
As a result, they deducted about 40% of my settlement money from my final settlement money.
I was angry when this happened. After giving 5 full years of my career to the company, I hadn’t expected this kind of treatment post leaving. I gained tremendous exposure while working there. Nothing to take away from that.
This experience helped me. I realized that I do not want my relationship with my team to be limited to only until they are working with me. It has to be beyond that.
How did I focus on team growth?
I never used to invest in any tools for my team – during my job as well as when I started my own venture. I was the kind of person who would sit with my team when they had trouble in any technical issue & I would help them sort it out.
But that was it. I didn’t realize that there are so many wonderful tools out there that could help shape my & my team’s growth chart.
Some of the tools that I have subscribed to for my team are mentioned below:
Github – Github was one of the first subscriptions I took for the company, in Feb or March 2014. Before this, we used to manage it all manually – sending files to each other via emails. It has made things very easier for my team. Tasks like updating our plugins, to keep track of which fix was made in which version, to spend less time in integrating each other’s changes were very simple. It was my fault that I hadn’t subscribed to it earlier.
Videos – Since we are a company that does plugins for WordPress & WooCommerce, I bought a subscription of WP101 after I watched Chris Lema’s presentation. I did know about WP101, but I was thinking whether to take the subscription or not.
But after watching the presentation, it seemed fair to take the WP101 videos subscription so I could have myself & my team watch them & train ourselves. Chris was spot-on when he said “We (as owners) need to provide them the tools that are necessary for them to succeed in their career & to be in that career for 1, 2 or 10 years or longer”.
Books – I bought copies of the book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It was given to me by one of my clients. I had been reading it since then & found it to be a good read. That’s when the thought occurred to me of providing a copy of that book to some of my team members.
I didn’t want them to just stick to technical stuff. I wanted that should any of my team members want to start a business in future, that book might make their task a bit easier. If anything, it would atleast motivate them to start thinking in that direction, as it motivated me too.
You are responsible to create a culture where they treat themselves as a professional. Encourage team growth & create an opportunity for them. Support them. Train them to be a Professional.
Growth means different things for different people. For some, it’s monetary. For others, it’s being able to learn new things.
What are you willing to do to support the people you work with & allow them to grow? Are you willing to coach the person?