Career Rock Wall

How do we prioritize growth in our organizations? When the individuals on our teams grow, our organizations grow. So let’s consider how we can cultivate growth for our people first!

As a leader of a thriving organization, your goal should be to inspire people to the work they do. Studies have repeatedly confirmed that engaged and inspired employees are the most valuable employees. Engaged team members are often driven by opportunities for advancement within the organization. 

This is great, but what happens when they work in an industry like the healthcare industry where there are not a lot of rungs on the career ladder? Is there a way that we can create growth opportunities for our people apart from promotions?

Absolutely, but it will take a shift in mindset. First, you need to set aside your idea that growth is a rung on a ladder or a promotion. Instead, consider what would happen if we made growth about something different- about a career rock wall. 

I’m sure you’ve seen a rock wall made for climbing. There is no direct path to the top, rather there are brightly colored handholds all over the place- some close to each other, some very far away. There are lots of places to move and directions to go. This is the type of rock wall we want to design for every member of our teams.

Creating a Career Rock Wall

Practically speaking, how do we create one of these rock walls? The first and most important thing is to understand what someone’s current skills and competencies are. We might ask ourselves:

What do they need to complete their next project successfully?

The answer to that question is a handhold on the wall. For example, if someone wants to lead the next EHR Implementation, they need the skill of coaching. Your next step is to provide them with an opportunity to practice this skill. This might look like setting them up as the mentor for the newest team member. The goal is to step away from linear thinking and begin thinking creatively about the individual skills and abilities on your team. 

Another benefit of creating someone else’s rock wall is it helps you to effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities. When you focus on engaging and empowering other people to do their work, you free yourself up to do your next level of learning and development too.

Take a moment and consider: What’s one handhold you can create today for someone on your team?

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.