What Is Development?

Development is a word that describes change. But it’s important to note that not all change is good, especially when it comes to the human condition. The goal of development is progress, growth and advancement without harming or depleting natural resources. The term development can also describe social or economic progress, such as the rise of communism or capitalism.

The United Nations rates countries on their level of development using the HDI (Human Development Index). It takes into account life expectancy, literacy and school enrollment along with gross national income per capita.

Managers should be comfortable discussing development outside of organizational and team constructs, and focus more on the person as a whole – what motivates them to work hard, their personal goals, and their future aspirations. Framing development conversations in this way allows managers to help employees grow as individuals and set them up for long-term success.

A big goal of sustainable development is to eliminate poverty, because it blocks the achievement of most other goals, such as freedom from hunger and a clean environment. Achieving sustainable development also requires that the world’s economies move away from relying on agriculture and raw materials, and include manufacturing, banking and finance, and services like hairdressing or plumbing. The process should also take into account that people and communities need space for local action, and that they must be able to defend their own interests against external forces. This concept is called development from below or human centred development.

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