Just like the fact that yo-yo dieters are unlikely to make the progress they want, organizations that are inconsistent about the investments they make in people are unlikely to achieve the success that they want. Companies cannot simply invest in people when times are good and then cut when times are bad. They need to make consistent, smart investments in people.

The people investment business however, is not very encouraging. Simply google the phrase “wasted training dollars” and you will see what I mean.

So in this environment (with more and more optimism and more and more opportunities for those positioned to capitalize on the trends), what kinds of investments should leaders be making and how can they make sure they get the most out of the dollars that they spend?

First, check your motives. Make sure that the investments you are considering have a clear objective to grow and improve the organization. Don’t feel compelled to invest in training just because everyone else is doing it or to merely to look good. Make investments with the same rigor you would for your own personal investment goals. That is to say because it will make your future (and the future of you company) better.

Second, look at each area of your organization (team, self and organization) with an eye to gain skills and improve engagement. Given the state of today’s economy, I would suggest the following areas to make big improvements.


Team’s ability to:

  • Come up with new ideas together
  • Execute faster and with less surprises
  • Speed up sales and open new markets
  • Collaborate effectively
  • Find operational efficiencies
  • Work effectively in a hybrid or remote work style

Your own ability to:

  • Have high quality performance discussions
  • Communicate your vision clearly
  • Remove organizational roadblocks
  • Make strategic assessments and persuade the organization to make necessary pivots
  • See and communicate needed opportunities to all key decision makers
  • Have high quality relationships with peers and key decision makers
  • Attract people who will want to work with you

The organization’s ability to:

  • Recruit more effectively than the competition
  • Integrate with new groups brought in through acquisition or merger
  • Provide exceptional customer service
  • Act in accordance with ethics and the aspirational values of the company
  • Find and apply appropriate technology

These are just a few suggestions of the types of investments that you might want to make. The current business environment is rich with opportunity, but not for those who are unprepared.

Lots of people like watching cooking shows, and have no intent to apply those skills themselves. They watch for enjoyment.

Business does not work that way. If you are not proactive participant, it will be your business that is on somebody else’s menu.

Make smart investments and get ahead of the curve.