Help them Grow or Watch them Go

What’s the point of staff development if career ladders look like traffic jams? Tough times end promotions and pay raises.

Maybe it’s better to slow or stop staff development. What can you offer? Don’t raise hopes. However…

The people you want on your team want to learn and grow.

If they don’t want to grow, they’re dead-ends. They’ll take you there too.

Mind shift:

Julie Winkle Giulioni, co-author of, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, suggests new attitudes and approaches to “staff development.”


Get rid of phrases like staff development. It sounds like a disease to me. Toss out leadership development and employee development as well. Embrace career development.

Reject linear. Career development isn’t simply climbing the corporate ladder. It’s climbing the career wall. Julie suggests career development looks like rock climbing. Careers move vertically and laterally. Think nonlinear.

“Think moving forward and toward rather than upward.”
Julie Winkle Giulioni

Stop taking responsibility for staff advancement. Help employees take ownership of their development and career path.


Every manager can begin career development dialogs – short, focused, on-going conversations that explore ways to creatively enhance and develop employee talents. Julie said; focus on employee-talent more than contribution. Talent is about people. Contribution is about organizations.

“For years we’ve heard that ‘talk is cheap.’ Not true.”
Help them Grow or Watch them Go.


Julie says, career advancement begins with managers who:

  1. Facilitate insights and awareness.
  2. Explore possibilities and opportunities.
  3. Inspire responses that drive employee-owned action.


  1. Stretch assignments.
  2. Special projects.
  3. In-department rotations.
  4. Action learning projects or teams.
  5. Job shadowing.
  6. Community service.

If “staff development” makes you anxious, check out, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go.

What career development activities most help you?

What prevents managers from focusing on developing talent?