Today we face the challenge of developing greater confidence, initiative, solution-finding, and problem-solving capabilities amongst our people. The state needs at all levels to be more self-sufficient, resourceful, creative and autonomous. These will make us operate at higher strategic level to enable us become more productive and competitive. People's efforts produce bigger results and this is what we must all strive to achieve to move forward.

Conventional skills training gives people new techniques and methods, but it will not develop their maturity, belief system, or encourage them to excel. This is only essential for the development of managerial and strategic capabilities. Our focus should be on developing the person and not the skills.

Try to see things from other people’s point of view and provide learning and experiences that people would like for their own personal interest, development and fulfillment. Performance and capability are ultimately dependent on people's attitude and emotional maturity. Help them to achieve what they want on a personal level, and provide a platform for trust, 'emotional contracting' with the organization, and subsequent skills/process/knowledge development relevant to managing higher responsibilities, roles and teams.

Participative workshops or forums work well in beginning this type of attitudinal development. Involve people right from the start. Focus on what they want. One could also use a personal development questionnaire to begin to set the scene and provide examples of 'alternative' learning opportunities. It starts with the person, not the skills. It's about attitude and emotional maturity.

When people develop confidence and integrity emotionally they automatically become more proactive, solution-focused, responsive, etc., which across a whole team has a cumulative effect. So many people at work are simply 'going through the motions', acting in a 'conforming' state, often because they feel insecure, maybe eye service pays better, lack confidence to do what they think is right, or are nervous about being bold, whereas boldness is absolutely required for self-sufficiency, initiative, greater responsibility; in fact the latter are all of the behaviours that we should encourage.

One can not 'teach' boldness - people have to experience things which enable them feel bold and to want to take risks. This means that rewards must be there too to encourage them, or people have no reason to stick their necks out. Financial reward is necessary but more importantly, real extra responsibility, recognition, and involvement in new successful and interesting projects helps. This is the fuel of people's growth and change.

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Comment by Hamzat Kadri on January 17, 2010 at 12:30am
You really hit the nail on the for the advocacy for development. Opportunities have to be provided for building the capacities and capabilities of people that will be expected to initiate, maintain and manage the infrastructural development that we all crave for. As they used to say in one country that "Ghetto is a state of mind", likewise, development is also a state of mind. i agree with you, Ufuoma, that people who are empowered with constructive attitudinal change, confidence, emotional maturity and a sense of commitments have the tendency to develop a maintenance culture needed for sustainable Education for development is urgently needed.

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