“I have people skills!”
Greetings colleagues, comrades, clients, curious passersby; I’m the new VP of Development. What does that mean? In practical terms, it means that I will be responsible for overseeing the following functions at Invisible:
- Training (Marshall Sutherland is still overseeing currently)
- Promotions and Evaluations
- Leadership Development
Most organizations would place those functions under “human resources.” But Invisible is not just any organization. We chose “VP of Development” because we want to take a radically different approach. We want our staff to not just be, but become. We want to build a culture and a system where our people feel challenged, encouraged, and find themselves constantly learning and growing. We want to unlock our workforce’s human potential. And we’re going to accomplish that by taking a deliberately developmental approach to hiring, training, evaluations, and leadership development.
I want to design a culture, and supporting system, where you feel immersively swept up in a developmental process throughout the course of your work. I don’t want you to do a job well. I want you to be on a hero’s journey.
Too often companies and organizations give lip service to things like professional and technical development, but they are never integrated into the overall function or product provided. This is a tragedy. Human potential and organizational potential are not in competition with one another, they are a dialectic.
My aim, for our partners and our agents, is to move you closer to the Ancient Greek aspiration of “eudaemonia.” Loosely translated, eudaemonia means “welfare” or “happiness.” But it does not mean happiness in the modern sense of the word. Eudaemonia is an experience of meaning and engagement in relation to the satisfaction of experiencing one’s own growth and unfolding. Eudaemonia is becoming more of the person one was mean to be, bringing more of oneself into the world.
When we collaborate, lead, build products, serve clients, problem solve, train others, engineer solutions, manage processes and systems, make friends, develop communities, raise families, explore, learn, create we are putting ourselves into the world. We are shaping each other and the fruits of our labor and relationships in-turn, shape us. I want Invisible to shape you.
How, exactly, we are going to turn Invisible into a deliberately developmental company is germinating! We are in the infancy of creating what that will look like and how we will implement systems and build our culture.
Below are some of my current influencers that are helping to bring these aspirations into something tangible:
- YOU! I want to glean as much input from Invisible parters and agents as possible in the next several months. What are your needs? Where do you feel stuck? In what ways do you love your work or find it frustrating? Let’s talk communication, leadership, training, skill gaps, successes, frustrations, interpersonal dynamics. It’s all on the table!
- Dr. Robert Kegan. Researcher and Professor of Adult Education and Development at Harvard University. His book, “An Everyone Culture” is currently on my nightstand.
- Plato’s Meno
- Aristotle’s Nichomacean Ethics
- Montaigne’s Essays
- Sun Tzu’s Art of War
- Integral Theory & Spiral Dynamics
These are my lenses at the moment. If you think of others, please share! I think I’m a bit heavy on western influences and not enough on everyone else. So please, if you have recommendations or criticisms, send them my way.
Practical talk for a moment: implementing systems involving humans is never easy. I have proposed some huge ideas here. We are up to the challenge, but it’s going to push you. If it doesn’t, I’m not doing my job right. And if I’m not doing something right, I want to hear about it. So should you. Be prepared to get comfortable putting your vulnerabilities out there, for letting go of control, for learning to delegate, for learning to step up, for hearing about your weaknesses, and getting a lot of encouragement along the way. I am here to support you! My hope is that any pain associated with this growing process will be like gym pain, the good kind. The kind that makes you realize you’re getting stronger. I am fully aware of the monumental task ahead of us and welcome ideas, criticisms, and concerns along the way.
I am currently taking the lead on building out our performance management (evals/promotions/etc), leadership development, personnel data management, and inching into hiring.
Tiffany Bellah has the lead on Training.
Please come to us with your thoughts and issues! I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert A. Heinlein