Last year, after much discussion, a family decision was made to move my son from public school to a private preparatory academy. His grades and attitude were troubling, and we hoped that by investing in our son’s education this way, he would invest in himself.
He has just finished his first year at the new school, and I’m amazed at the transformation. My once sullen, lackadaisical son has been replaced by an interesting, enthusiastic person who says things such as, “You know, you can’t really get World War II until you understand World War I.”
The experience has taught me a new way of looking at motivating people through opportunity. The difference in my son isn’t that he can now discuss history with greater insight. It’s more fundamental than that. His mastery of new subjects has given him self-respect.
I believe that if you want someone to care about their world — or their industry — you have to provide them with a first-class education. It’s not enough to write out a paycheck and expect that your employees will follow your dream. Instead, it’s important to get them invested in their own future by giving them the right tools.
What form that takes varies between companies and individual employees. But the message should be: “We believe in your growth, and you are worth an investment of company resources.” Only then will you help foster an environment that encourages employees to care about your business as if it were their own.
As long as increasing the bottom line is the sole goal of your company, it will never fully realize its potential. However, if you invest in the power of your employees, there’s no limit to the dividends you can receive.