Developing People = Crockpot Cooking, not a microwave

I once stood in front of a group of nursing leaders and thetopic was developing people.  In order to help them better understand what it took to develop people I used the analogy of a crockpot vs a microwave.  One of the challenges in a healthcare is the strength of the organization / culture of the organization is focused on managing emergencies.  Hospitals are at their best when the situation is most difficult – which we should all be thankful for.

Developing people is not an ’emergency item’ or like cooking in a microwave, it is more like a crockpot.  Put in the key ingredients, make sure the temperature is right, then walk away.  You might check how things are cooking a few times, but once you start the process your main concern is whether the power is still on.

Why do leaders struggle with a consistent focus on developing people?  I would offer one simple explanation – most leaders are wired to drive for immediate results and overcome anything that gets in their way.  What a gift!  Developing people is about starting the ‘cooking’ by sitting down and listening to where the person is with their role, helping to paint a picture of a future level of performance that is the goal, assisting in defining some key actions that can be taken, and then delegating ownership to the person for their plan with the promise to circle back with them quarterly to ‘check to see if the power is still on’.

Questions for leaders?

  • Does you approach to development look more like a microwave or a crock pot?
  • What % of the people working for you have development plans?
  • How often do you sit down with your people to spend time on their development?