Do you have the correct “investment strategy” regarding people?

I often write about leadership and issues involving groups and teams.  Today will be no different even thought the title may give you a different impression.  When I see the term investment strategy I tend to think of financial issues, but my investment discussion today will involve investing in others in terms such as time and focus or energy.  Let me get started and we will see where this goes.

In a typical investment strategy involving financial assets we tend to break things down in areas such as the ones listed below:

  • short term
  • long term
  • domestic
  • international
  • equities
  • debt
  • cash

I believe we can use the same type of thinking when we consider how we invest in others.  Here are the parallels I would draw when considering how we can invest in others:

  • training/coaching
  • development
  • current role
  • future role
  • long-term skills, knowledge or attitudes
  • training/development
  • involvement

The parallels make sense in my mind and I’ll take a moment to explain how you can use each of these strategies to guide and model your investment in yourself and others.

Training and Coaching can be one of the most useful short term investments you can  make.  I can cite many instances where I have found instances where training for myself or others made a significant impact on their perception and success in their present role.  This does not diminish the impact training and coaching in mid to long term issues, but training and coaching are certainly two short term strategies you can use to make a difference in  yourself and others right now.

Development has a strong correlation to long term investing.  Development is typically an investment of time and effort into some set of skills, knowledge or attitude (SKA) that will make an impact in a future role.  Just as I would invest in equities or debt for a long term gain, I would suggest that you can spend time developing others for their near and long term goals.  This reminds me of my time in Scouting when we would teach young men skills in first aid and out door skills.  They may not have had the need that particular night when the training took place, but that development would certainly come into play at some later time and date when the right circumstance arises.

Training, coaching and development can play a role in both the current and future role for anyone you may be working to develop.  Just as I described in the paragraph above, we never know when the SKA we provide will have a current or future impact in the behavior of others or even in ourselves.  Preparation is the key and having that “tool” ready when the time arises will make all of the difference.

Training and development again are part of what I have described above and we never stop growing and developing others until we stop investing in them.

Involvement is the key, the lynch pin, of all that I will discuss today.  Involvement boils down to many factors, but the key factor is time.  Time is essential in all development, whether it would be skill, knowledge, attitude or just forging a relationship.  You will never know the impact of the investment you make when you are making it.  You have to trust that the time will come when this investment will pay off and provide fruit for the one you have invested in.

If you have a financial portfolio you should take time every few months to review your investment allocation to ensure you have the right tools for the current and future direction based on your personal needs, the needs of others you are investing in and also in the external environment.

You should also take the time to review your personal portfolio and the portfolio of SKA for yourself and those you are investing in.  Too often we obtain a new set of tools or skills and then stand pat for an extended period of time.  Always take the time to review and retool.

Having the right financial investments will make all of the difference in a shifting economy.

So too will having the right personal investments in yourself and others when times change.

You can take that to the bank.