Authored by Reba Taville, Learning and Development Business Partner with Construction Career Collaborative (C3)
A good friend once told me, in a moment of stubbornness, “You don’t get to ‘not’ right now.” As much as I did not enjoy hearing it, he was right! And as I reflect, I am glad that I heard him and chose to act instead of remaining comfortable in that moment. When it comes to business growth, your organization need not remain comfortable.
Learning and Development (L&D) is not an expendable resource, growth requires it. Ignoring L&D is the opposite of what the most successful organizations, especially in Houston’s Commercial Construction Industry, have documented as best business practices. Take a moment to think of the top five organizations in the commercial construction industry. Now think about what they have in common. Among other key factors, they have invested in and committed to L&D, from Laborer to Foreman, and beyond.
One of my favorite books, Jim Collins's Good to Great, compares various companies which have either exceeded expectations during turbulent times or failed and became extinct because of an inability to innovate and pivot. “The good to great companies understood a simple truth; tremendous power exists in the fact of [continuous] improvement and the delivery of results.” Yes, your organization may have been around a long time, but if you find yourself saying, “This is how we’ve always done it,” I’m sorry to tell you, but you may soon find yourself among the companies that become extinct.
In her 2017 book, Learning for the Long Run, Holly Burkett presents the “Seven Practices for Sustainability,” and in the middle is “Driving for Results, Continuously Improving”. At C3, one of our most recently launched programs is a course offered once a month entitled “Driving Business Results through Talent Management.” If you’ve taken the course, you know that when an organization places significance in, and practices, continuous improvement, it unlocks the door to greater revenue growth. And let’s be honest, revenue is one of the reasons your organization formed, isn’t it? Not the only reason for sure, but certainly one of the reasons!
W. Edward Deming believed in transformative learning and like Deming, I believe that when organizations encourage and support people's growth, it improves the business’ efforts toward the company’s growth and sustainability. At its core, Learning and Development is a commitment to innovation. High-performing organizations have a strong commitment to L&D, and they encourage pushing the limits beyond the status quo, continuously moving from what is to what can be.
“Well, we don’t want to pay to train them and then have them leave.” Sound familiar? Have you seen Amazon’s most recent campaigns? Amazon is now highlighting team members who’ve started a new career because Amazon invested in them. Instead of fearing employees leaving, they are choosing to highlight how they help people grow. Your company, most likely, is not as big as Amazon. GOOD NEWS, you don’t have to be!
One of C3’s Champion level endorsed employers, Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing makes a habit of investing in its people and sharing their successes. Most recently, Chamberlin shared with C3 how its training and development practices have become their calling card. They have had employees return to the organization after realizing the value of the extensive learning and growth opportunities available at Chamberlin vs. the competitors. When you look at C3’s list of Champion level endorsed companies you’ll find that investing in organizational and individual growth is the trend. Are you ready to join this elite group of employers? Here’s my advice, start small. Don’t think of growth as a massive venture. All it takes is a series of small steps/commitments/choices that add up to something big. As the old saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant?”
Listen, at the end of the day, there is no government or state mandate to improve continuously. But just as in our day-to-day lives, those who invest in themselves have a much better chance of thriving not only surviving. So, I am telling you, as my friend told me, “You don’t get to ‘not’ right now”. If you are a leader in your organization, I implore you, don’t leave your organization only to survive. Push the limits, invest in your team. Dare to grow! No, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. And remember, C3 has a team of Talent Development Professionals to assist you and share best practices along the way.