I think I’ve lost track of the number of organizations that have made the claim that their people are their greatest asset. That sounds noble. It could possibly be a monumental strategy. It has the potential for striking great pride into the hearts of every employee. It offers the probability of enhanced productivity. Of course, all of these benefits evolve only if the organization “walks their talk.” Sadly, for a variety of obvious reasons, far two few companies invest the time and effort to properly do so.
If you truly believe your employees are an asset, it’s best to treat them as though they are exactly that. Coach, mentor, train and develop them to their fullest potential. Sometimes that will mean allowing them to experiment, struggle and even fail to a certain extent. Those elements are critical to the evolution of a productive staff. This process is exemplified by today’s generational gem.
A man found a butterfly’s cocoon. He observed it regularly and one day noticed the appearance of a small opening. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared stuck.
The kind man decided to help the butterfly by cutting open the cocoon with a pair of scissors. The butterfly then emerged easily. However, something seemed strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man watched the butterfly expecting it to take on its correct proportions. Unfortunately, nothing changed.
The butterfly stayed the same. It was never able to fly. In his kindness and haste the man did not realize that the butterfly’s struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. Like the sapling which grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, in life we all need to struggle sometimes to make us strong. When we coach and teach others, be it children or employees, it is helpful to recognize that people sometimes need to do things for themselves.