Preview Thursday: Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

We are pleased to present this excerpt from Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go by Julie Winkle Giulioni.

Development Debunked

Developing employees. Helping them grow. It’s like eating properly or exercising. You know it’s good.

You know you should. Yet, if you’re like any managers today, you just don’t do it as well or as frequently as you would like.

In survey after survey, year after year, employees express their dissatisfaction with how they are being supported in their careers. At the same time, managers across industries, regions, and levels uniformly report a moderate to severe lack of competence, comfort, and confidence in themselves in regards to this critical job expectation.

What IF...

  • you could more easily and frequently engage in the career development
    work that employees crave without sacrificing everything else
    that must get done?
  • employees assumed greater responsibility for their careers?
  • it was possible for career development to be integrated into the work
    that needs to get done as opposed to being a separate series of
    overwhelming tasks that have to be checked off a list?

You could. They can. And it can be. That’s why we’ve written this book.


In the seven years since we wrote the first edition of this book, career development has only become more important. In today’s business environment, talent continues to be the major differentiator. As artificial intelligence and other advances take hold, we’re coming to terms with the reality that there’s no substitute for what human beings are uniquely suited to contribute to the workplace. As a result, developing people to optimize their capacity has become a compelling and strategic priority across organizations.

Developing talent is also recognized as one of the most significant drivers of employee engagement, which in turn is the key to the business outcomes you seek: revenue, profitability, innovation, productivity, customer loyalty, quality, cycle time reduction, and more—everything organizations need to survive and thrive.

But the reality of career development continues to morph in response to the evolving business landscape. Boomers are living longer—and working longer. Belt-tightening efforts that led to delayering and downsizing show no signs of loosening. There are fewer and fewer levels of management to which to aspire. Work gets organized and done more organically these days. More jobs are being filled with contingent workers. All of this breeds a sense of scarcity and leaves the impression that there aren’t as many opportunities as there once were. This makes career development more important and more complex than ever before


Ignore the development imperative at your own peril. Every day, employees who believe that their careers are not getting the attention they deserve make the decision to leave. Some resign to pursue employment in organizations that offer greater opportunity. Others decide the freelance life fits them better, and they cobble together a variety of projects that become their career.

But an equally dangerous group is made up of those who stay but withdraw their engagement, motivation, and enthusiasm for the work

And all of this matters. A lot. Economic researchers point to evolving skill gaps, changes to immigration policies, and changing demographics as indicators that we are in for a sustained labor shortage. Cities— looking to build their populations—are considering paying people to relocate. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride: retention—if it’s not already—is going to keep managers awake at night.

Julie Winkle Giulioni is an author, speaker, and consultant who helps organizations and businesses demystify what it takes to become a great ‘people leader’, fire up the passion and commitment of employees, and keep great talent by activating and developing it. She works with clients domestically and internationally, offering keynote addresses, facilitated workshops, custom webinars, elearning and microlearning solutions that deliver measurable results. Julie is the co-author of the Amazon bestseller Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, and one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers. She is a regular contributor to The Economist, SmartBrief, Saba’s TalentSpace, the Conference Board’s Human Capital Exchange, and a variety of publications, and offers thoughts on leadership, career development, and more via her blog.

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