So what does CultivateMe do?

We help growing companies develop their talent and lower their turnover costs by building a mastery machine.

A “mastery machine”?

That’s right. Successful businesses are really a set of systems. They have a system for building their products, a system for marketing their products, for generating sales, for handling client support or hiring new talent, and so on. We help growing companies improve their system for developing talent—a mastery machine.

Why do I need a system for developing my talent?

Because bored people quit. A salary isn’t enough. Most people quit their job because “there’s no room for growth” or “I wasn’t learning anything anymore.” They don’t want a job so much as they want a learning curve. And when that learning curve runs out, they start looking for another one elsewhere. Give them a good learning curve and they stick around longer. Overlook this and you have a huge, invisible cost.

A huge, invisible cost?

Yup. When an employee quits, it can cost more than 100% of their annual salary to replace them. This includes obvious things like recruiting, onboarding, and lost productivity for that role. But it also considers the ripple effect of losing a team member, the impact on team dynamics, loss of trust, cultural drift, and overall productivity losses from all of that.

Let’s do some quick math. If your annual payroll is $10 million and you have a 15% annual turnover rate, then you have roughly $1.5 million leaking out of your company every year. But it doesn’t show up on your income statement in an obvious way. So yes, it’s a huge, invisible cost.

Wow! I guess I suspected that, but it’s hard to measure or see clearly.

Exactly. But if you could prevent people from leaving… if you could get them to stick around longer and reduce that turnover rate from 15% to 10%, that’s half a million dollars in savings every year.

Got it. So I’ll just get them a Lynda.com subscription and I’m good, right?

You could do that. But you’d be overlooking 80% of the problem.

80% of the problem?

To grow as a professional, people need to answer 5 questions: What’s my job? What skills should I improve next? How do I learn them? How do I stick with it? How do I know I'm better?

E-learning and live training answer question #3. But they’re often a total waste of resources if you can’t answer the other four questions—the other 80% of the problem.

Let me guess… you help answer those other four questions.

Even better, we help your people answer them for themselves. We help people understand their job and how they add value to your business. We help them articulate their skills and figure out where to focus their development.

Most importantly, we help them use the work they do every day as the means to develop their skills. We help them turn their job into a never-ending learning curve.

So are you saying my people don’t have to stop working in order to get better?

That’s exactly what we’re saying. A gold mine of skills growth sits untapped in people’s everyday activities. And it’s a more powerful way to learn because it’s authentic. It’s relevant. It has more meaning and so it’s more memorable. Tapping into this is a simple paradigm shift: be mindful about your work.

Okay, so how does CultivateMe help me do that?

We do this in three ways: the Iris platform, Iris design, and management coaching.

Wait, what’s an “Iris”?

An Iris is like a selfie of your skills. It visualizes a role at your organization. Each employee gets their own Iris that shows what they do and how well they do it. Instead of a boilerplate job description in a Word doc, or a giant spreadsheet of abstract competencies, each person has a compact, interactive visualization of the work they do all day. You can think of it like a compass that helps point the way to professional growth.

Sounds nice, but what do I do with an Iris once I have it?

It’s a tool for coaching. The Iris is the centerpiece for performance conversations that are objective and collaborative. It’s also a tool for insight. It’s where your people add commits, reflections, and resources.

Hang on… commits, reflections, and resources?

So the big problem with talent development these days is the dreaded “professional growth plan”. You sit down with a manager in January, set your professional development goals for the next 12 months, then put it in a drawer and forget about it. You take it out again in December to find half of those goals don’t matter anymore and you have three new projects that no one anticipated back in January. Oh, and you have a new manager.

We flip this. Instead of planning your goals in advance, you go on a journey and document it along the way. Commits, reflections, and resources are basically post-it notes on which you capture your discoveries. Think of them as little breadcrumbs that you drop along your journey. Over time they accumulate and tell a story of your growth. They also get aligned to your Iris. This puts your journey in context with your work. It takes just a couple minutes a day to drop these breadcrumbs, but they accumulate compound interest over time.

So I get an Iris for my specific role, then I leave these breadcrumbs, which can be viewed through my Iris?

That’s right. I know we’re mixing metaphors here, but look... learning is an emergent process. It’s messy and nonlinear. We go through life and have experiences. Then we reflect on those experiences to make meaning of them. The meaning we make becomes our skills and intuition. And what else is a professional but a person with a certain set of skills and intuition plus some industry knowledge?

How do you work with clients to make this happen?

Well the Iris platform is the foundation. It’s the “learning infrastructure” that makes all this possible. In addition we provide two services to get clients started: Iris design and management coaching.

What’s Iris design?

We interview some of your people and review some of your documentation, then design Irises for the various roles at your organization. These are available in the platform for your people to use for their development.

And the management coaching?

We train your managers to use the Iris to coach their people in 15 minutes or less. Each manager gets a weekly 30-minute coaching session over 8 weeks. The first 4 give them the experience of being coached with the Iris. After that they start coaching their own people and the next 4 sessions are used to coach them on coaching, as it were.

And this is how you build a mastery machine?

This is how we build a mastery machine. Consider what you would have at this point...

People understand their job: You have an Iris for every person in your organization that maps out their role and their mastery of that role.

People know what skills to work on next: You have managers that can use the Iris to coach their people in 15 minutes or less and figure out where to focus.

People have a way to stick to it: You have a simple set of practices that capture the natural learning that happens from doing their everyday work.

People know when they’re better: Iris Meetings with their manager and adjusting the rays on their Iris clearly and objectively demonstrate a person’s professional growth.

Okay, and if I want to try this for myself?

Create a free account on Iris. Create a few commits and reflections of your own. Build out your own Iris if you like. Take it for a spin. Then drop us a line and let’s talk.