Investing in the Grand Scheme

by Lee Buford on September 26, 2010

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Decisions and choices abound in every area of our lives. Every day you and I are faced with questions and options, and some are clearly more critical than others to our long-term health, success, or well-being. Needless to say, these decisions also have the potential to drastically impact the lives of others.

I read a great story about a entrepreneur who spends an exceptionally disproportionate amount of money on training for his new employees. He invests heavily on the front end in order to educate and integrate new associates to his business and, more importantly, to ensure they are aligned with his culture of service and success. He understands that his people need to be prepared to be successful, and he knows there’s a cost involved in making that happen. He also knows there’s cost to be paid if they’re not prepared, and he’s weighed both carefully in making his decision-making process.

He was asked by someone who questioned his rationale, “What if you spend all this money and they leave your company?” To which he confidently responded, “That’s not the question. The question is, ‘What if I don’t spend the money and they stay?'”

He knows that, at the end of the day, his people will make or break his company’s success. And if he fails to invest in people who ultimately hang around on the front lines, contributing little or nothing, well, his fate is sealed. So is theirs. To him it’s a no-brainer, and I couldn’t agree more with his strategy.

But keep in mind, investing in people is not merely about a financial contribution to their personal development. It’s about time, love, encouragement, and correction. It’s about making tough decisions and shepherding folks through the processes and situations that are often uncomfortable for both parties.

It’s about having a genuine desire to see people achieve and reach their God-given potential.

Ill-prepared, uneducated people in any organization hinder success, yours and theirs. And I don’t mean uneducated in terms of scholastic accomplishment, but rather in terms of their knowledge of and preparedness for the job or task at hand. We see it in sports on a weekly basis, particularly this time of year. No college or NFL football team wants to go into a big game with a rookie quarterback at the helm. No matter how talented or highly regarded the individual, the learning curve is too great. Experience matters. Comprehension matters. Preparation matters. And they matter because these individuals will be called upon to make critical decisions in the heat of battle.

Critical decisions yield critical results, and critical results come with, and at, a cost. What is that cost to you or your organization? What is that cost to the people around you? What is that cost to your family?

Whether you’re leading a Fortune-50 company, a team of athletes, a class of students, or a flock of sheep in a local church, your decisions on how much to invest in your people (financially or otherwise) will play a major role in the level to which they, as individuals, ultimately grow and achieve. In turn, their growth and achievement will ultimately shape the outcome and destiny of you and your team.

Many “things” you could invest in yield little return in the grand scheme of things. Investments in people, however, directly impact the grand scheme.

People, in fact, are the grand scheme. Invest wisely.

In what or whom are you investing? Why?


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