Well-Rounded or Productive. Pick One.

For years, many in leadership positions have believed that the most productive employees are those that are well-rounded.
Employees who start in one function, then “rotate” into a different function, possibly get promoted, move to a third function, get promoted, and so on and so on.

The thinking is the more exposure an employee gets to different areas of the organization the more they will learn about the business, learning different tactics and processes along the way. Said employees will gather knowledge to be effective in a variety of positions.

The organization wins because they have an employee who has been exposed to many areas and is versed and ready to step in whenever and wherever an opening occurs.

The employee wins because they will not get bored staying in one area. Shaking things up keeps things interesting.

Makes sense, right?

The critical flaw in this thinking is that most of the time when this strategy is employed you end up with employees who are mediocre in many areas, lacking true depth and passion in any one function. Depth + passion = long term commitment.

Research has shown that the most productive employees are those who use their natural strengths every day, diving deeper and deeper into waters of the same pool.

They are encouraged to build upon their natural strengths, deepening expertise in a particular area. Because their strengths are part of their inherent wiring, they are able to go deep and stay interested in one area, something that a tour through the “well-rounded” program cannot deliver.

From this depth of expertise, thought innovation and efficiency is born, propelling organizations to achieve greater and greater things.

Now is the time to challenge programs that may exist in your organization that continue the notion of developing well-rounded employees. The hiring, retaining and development of specialists in every area, at all levels, is upon us – and it begins by learning how your employees are naturally wired.