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The Importance of Human Development for Companies

Failing to understand what human development really is, and not managing it, is ultimately fatal.

A company is only great if the people and leaders that make it up continue to improve. Take away human development pillars and it won’t matter if you have the best product or the biggest market share. It doesn’t matter if you are using robots and artificial intelligence to replace some of the work with people, a company will always need to manage and improve the human factor.  

Human development is not the only factor which makes up the success of the company. And there will always be the need to replace some of your human resources as the company meets new challenges and goes into new markets. But failing to understand what human development really is, and not managing it, is ultimately fatal. That’s why the professionals in the company who are responsible for the human factor are abandoning the old term “human resources” and focusing more on human development.

Here, we’ll introduce a man who has become a leading figure in the world of human development in companies – Bob Aubrey.

Bob Aubrey is a human development thinker and practitioner, backed up with decades of expertise in the field and a scope of work on six continents and twenty-five countries. He has built a steady reputation as not only a human development consultant but also as an author and an entrepreneur. Bob is at the peak of his career and from here on out intends to be a voice in making human development more effective in companies and in public policy.

Born in the USA in 1948, Bob Aubrey had a strong desire to accomplish something and when he studied psychology and philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of California, it led him to cross the Atlantic and complete a PhD in philosophy at the University of Paris and an MBA.  His advent in the professional world of consulting started with the creation of Apple’s first corporate university outside the USA, in France when that was Apple’s largest and fastest-growing subsidiary. He worked with other multinationals in Europe on their corporate universities, leadership programmes and organizational development to help employees be entrepreneurs for their own careers rather than waiting for the company to tell them how they should develop themselves. He also wrote his first books on human development while living in France. His success as a consultant led him to take up the challenge of creating a company that would create personal development tools and programmes, which he did in 2002. At the same time, he became convinced that he needed to be part of a true revolution in human development that was beginning to take place in China, where hundreds of millions of people were being lifted out of poverty. So he moved to Beijing and ran his company in Europe and China. Eventually he expanded across Asia and moved the company to Singapore, ultimately merging it with a larger company nine years later.

That was when he decided to devote himself to the larger questions of human development in companies.   He wrote three books in rapid sucession with McGraw Hill “Managing Your Aspirations: Developing Personal Enteprise in the Gloal Workplace” (2011), “Creating Aspirational Leaders: The Global Workforce  Advantage” (2012) and “Measure of Man: Leading Human Development” (2015). He continued to work with companies as a consultant used his entrepreneurial talent for social enterprises, creating the HR Committee at the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and founding the ASEAN Human Development Organization.

The subject of human development has generally been limited to economics and international institutions such as the Human Development Report of the United Nations. Bob Aubrey has taken the philosophical concepts of development as freedom and human capabilities into the world of work by developing programmes, tools and measurement for human development in companies. If you’re looking to understand human development at work, a good place to start is to read up on some of Bob Aubrey’s work.

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