We had just redeployed to Germany from Bosnia and I was swamped. I had to find a new apartment, pick up my car from the port, complete a slew of professional training — oh, and still do my job. When I told my company commander I felt like I wasn’t contributing enough at work because of all these other demands, his reply was quick and direct. “Geoff,” he said, “relax, take the time now to do what you need to do. You’re an investment.”
That last sentence hit me. You’re an investment. It put everything in perspective. I didn’t need to prove my worth to my boss, he knew my worth — probably better than me. In fact, he didn’t just know my present worth, he believed in what I would someday be.
How do you see your followers? Are they people you get to invest in or are they people you have to spend time and energy on? Are you an Investor or a Spender?
- Investors look to Multiply Value. When I was a platoon leader all I saw in the mirror was a green lieutenant. My company commander, thankfully, saw a future captain. To him, my job wasn’t just to lead one of his platoons. My job was to learn how to lead a company someday. Investors seek to make others more valuable — to themselves and to the organization. Spenders just want to extract value from others.
- Investors take the Long View. My three-year-old spilled milk all over the table this morning trying to put it on his cereal. Our response as parents? No problem, he can clean it up and try again tomorrow. A little spilled milk is a small price to pay for my son learning that he’s free to try things out, make honest mistakes, clean them up and move on. Investors focus on long-term growth. Spenders look for the quick return: What’s the most I can get today for the least cost?
- Investors Start Early. It’s never too early to give someone a chance. You can groom people for leadership at any level — if they’re willing and able. Enable them to grow into their potential. Investors look for what could be. Spenders are only interested in sure bets.
So start investing in your people today — the dividends are well worth it!
What are some other ways to invest in people?