Project Management in Practice

Beyond the alphabet soup of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PMBOK, ITIL, Agile

All about attitude


Organisational growth is always a scary proposition. People are put out of their comfort zone and reactions vary from person to person. One common approach I see in these situations is to go for ready-made talent from elsewhere than take the risk to develop from within.

One major hesitation to invest in people comes from the fear of losing those people once they have been trained up and the thought that the competition will snap up what it has invested in. I read an interesting post shared by Sarah Ouakim, where she outlines the response from a CEO to his CFO, who had exactly this fear. What happens if the organisation does not invest in its people and they end up staying? How does that help the organisation grow? I applaud that CEO for clarity of thought.

Afraid to invest in people because they may leave? What happens if you don’t and they stay?

In order to successfully grow from within, the organisation also has to be looking for leaders from within. What the organisation must look out for is what Scott Edinger in his Harvard Business Review blog calls reverse leadership – where people with specific expertise important to the organisation step up even though they may not be in an appointed leadership position. The organisation must acknowledge that it is not a sign of appointed leadership not working well, but potential to grow its capabilities.

It is very expensive and time consuming to go about hiring the right leadership. If you get the mixture wrong, you can compromise the organisation and its culture. If you have the people with potential in house, it is infinitely less risky to empower them to take on leadership roles and hire keen junior staff. It is also a more sustainable of of growing. Flourishing reverse leadership usually does not happen by accident. The organisation must have a culture of recognising and valuing such effort.

If you get this right, people will be less inclined to leave. It is all about attitude.

One response to “All about attitude

  1. Pingback: Understanding your people « Project Management in Practice

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