In 2009, Fortune magazine asked Tiger Woods, among others, for the ‘best advice I ever got’.
‘When I was young, maybe six or seven years old, I’d play on the Navy golf course with my pop. My dad would say, “Okay, where do you want to hit the ball?” I’d pick a spot and say I want to hit it there. He’d shrug and say, “Fine, then figure out how to do it.” He didn’t position my arm, adjust my feet, or change my thinking. He just said go ahead and hit the darn ball.’
I think there is something profound here about how to help a talented individual develop. Let’s translate it into management speak.
When you sit down with one of your people to plan their development, get them to set their own objective. Then ask them to figure out how to achieve it. Don’t tell them how to do it, let them work out their own way – with your support.