As Management Students, we believe in the sanctity of learning and know in our hearts that education is a basic tenet for both personal and professional growth. That said, learning programs must be rooted in sound business decisions and financially viable returns on investment. Many times we argue that providing educational opportunities strengthens employee commitment , which decreases turnover. Are we right?
Commitment and understanding go hand-in-hand. Only by understanding (and feeling aligned with) the organization's larger Focus and Context, will people thrive and grow. Powerful leaders constantly clarify team or organization Focus and Context and keep people excited about working within it.
Management students (Future Managers) routinely underestimate the amount and quality of education and communication required to make changes and improvements. They fall victim to our human tendency to judge others by their actions, but to judge ourselves by our intentions. Since most them intend to make nothing but beneficial changes and improvements, they often fail to appreciate the explanations others are giving for their actions.
If we want people on our team or in our organization to behave like business partners, we need to treat them that way. We need to treat them like responsible adults and give them a deep and continuous understanding of what's going on in the business. They can't become self-disciplined and self-managed without it. With little knowledge and scanty information, people won't — in fact they can't — take responsibility. Since information is power, the only way of empowering or sharing power, is by sharing information.
If people don't buy into why changes or improvements are necessary, they will fight and resist them. Before people will want to improve, they need to agree with why they need to improve. Then they are ready to learn how to improve. That means treating everyone on our team and in our organization as partners. Strong partnerships are built on keeping each other informed. Effective partners communicate frequently and clearly.
The million dollar question lies in do we treat our employees or students or subordinates as partners or major stakeholders who would help foster their commitment? Can Management education be an answer to this question?