When I returned my rental car to the airport last week, I was approached by a man in a bright yellow vest.

He introduced himself as Jesse, informed me he worked for the rental car company, and asked if he could take me to the terminal in the car I had just returned.

I looked up and noticed the airport shuttle bus was not there, so I accepted his offer.

On our short drive to the terminal, Jesse, a rather outgoing person and visibly energized by giving me a ride, volunteered that his main job was overseeing car prep. He had been given this additional role to play whenever his workload was slow, and he really enjoyed it.

Jesse’s additional role was a growth opportunity for him because he had the opportunity to do something he was naturally talented at (interacting with others), while also improving the rental car company’s value proposition by getting me to the (airport) terminal faster.

Lesson: you don’t have to grow someone ‘vertically’ through promotion.

You can double the possibilities by also growing them ‘horizontally’ – matching their talents with new roles and tasks.

Done right, giving someone the opportunity to use their talents feels like a promotion – just ask Jesse.

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