A new paradigm for career development

by Steven Snyder on September 27, 2012

I’ve just finished reading Bev Kaye and Julie Giulioni’s new book, Help them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want. It is an engaging and insightful work, introducing a practical and powerful new paradigm for career development in the 21st century.

The book addresses the new realities of the 21st century workplace, delivering a highly accessible toolkit. The authors argue that the traditional annual career development conversation is passé and should be replaced by multiple, shorter and more relevant conversations within the context of the day-to-day workflow. Building on the ideas introduced by Doug Connant and Mette Norgaard in Touchpoints,  Help them Grow guides managers into this new system in several ways: first, by recognizing the opportunities for dialog when they occur during the normal course of business; and second through a set of tools and techniques to structure conversations that foster worker growth.

The key is to frame these conversations correctly. Help them Grow offers a simple yet compelling formula: insight lies at the intersection of hindsight and foresight. Kaye and Giulioni teach managers to notice critical opportunities for worker self-awareness through reinterpretation of past events and experience. True insight comes by overlaying an enlightened understanding of the past with the anticipation of the dreams and possibilities of tomorrow.

Help them Grow dispels outdated myths of 20th century career development, replacing them with strategies more relevant to the modern workforce—jettisoning a one-dimensional traditional career ladder and substituting a climbing wall, a powerful and nuanced metaphor that expands rather than limits the spectrum of possible conversations.

The book is filled with mind-enriching gems and is a quick and easy read. Anyone who invests a mere two hours with this book will be rewarded by a new framework for career development, leading to greater worker productivity, satisfaction, growth and retention. This is a compelling ROI.

Peter Giulioni September 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Steven, couldn’t agree with you more! I had the unique opportunity of observing Bev and Julie as they went from concept thru multiple drafts and design iterations and then final product. They knew they were offering insights that might be viewed as counter to the conventional wisdom, but they shared a deep understanding that both employees AND managers had a different set of needs in today’s fast-paced business environment. Their work was a labor of love and the final product reflects their combined 60+ years of workplace understanding.

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