I read this article recently called "10 Ways to Lose Your Best Employees
" representing to a point some of the grievances I have seen, experienced and/or heard about from others. I thought it might be an interesting exercise to "refine" and reorder the list to make it my own to reflect my point of view on the things that employers do that can be a turnoff to their top talent. This is not a point of view about a specific company (or any company I am employed at, have been employed with, or have worked with). This is a point of view about companies in general - as talent management has not been solved for good by any one company (it's usually a work in progress), and one company's way of handling may not work for another. You might find it interesting to look at the original article (link above) to compare articles. I've also tried to modify the tone of the article to end each point positively. Note: I come from the world of consulting, so that's the lens to which I write - take it with a grain of salt, though, I would contend that these points may be useful to most companies..1. Downplay values and mission.
A company's values and mission is often overlooked, forgotten, and not taken seriously enough. In reality, it is integral to a company and its talent. How many times has one seen a company's values and mission/vision statement and thought, "Is that true"? In fact, many companies do not have these written in the open, or at all. (Well, the question is then, how do the people in that company align to that "north star"?) They don't. When it's missing in action, the article writes that the company "sends the signal that anything goes in pursuit of profit, making employees guess about what choices are truly acceptable. Fail to spend time articulating to your workers why they come to work every day
" and they'll eventually leave to go find something else to believe in. It is crucial that companies take the time to articulate its values and mission starting with the top, and ensure that the message of the "north star" is consistently messaged throughout the organization.2. Hire for the past, not the future.
No vision, no mission, and no values translates often to no alignment. There are so many companies that do make revenue and are profitable despite that - but really, what's the point of empty dollars? Talent
[does not] come based on what's worked before,
[but based] on where the category is heading
." Without a vision for the future, employers will do what seems to be logical because it is front of mind. The article writes that this means companies hire based on "emphasiz[ing] the candidates’ narrow former experience over a more generalized, nimble agility to adapt to a fast-changing world
." In the past, employers sought those years of narrow experience, today those years of narrow experience are less relevant because anyone can "Google" (or Bing) it now. To stay relevant for the future, a company needs an agile, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, hungry, and smart work force.
3. Place 'Friends' in Management
The article writes about placing jerks into management. I don't think jerks get placed into management that often, certainly not for long. Most jerks who manage to get into management by brown-nosing and/or bullying their way up so to speak, don't make it very long - leaders and management need the support of those that work above, alongside and below to survive and succeed. What we do tend to see more of in the management ranks are alliances, friends, buddies, people that will be obedient and not get too far "out of their box". Studies have repeatedly shown, likes prefer likes.
That's how the "Good Old Boy Networks" are created. Hire a woman into the CFO or Chief HR or Operations role, and checkmark, the company believes that it now has a female-friendly executive management team (unless it's a financial services, human resources, operations services company, in reality this doesn't count as being a pro-female management team.) Show us MORE companies where women have a chance to sit at the executive table where the female executive role is integral to the company's bottom line meaning product, design, engineering, whatever the bread-and-butter is of the company. The challenge is that often, men see women as their work mothers, work nannies who then get the role of nagging them at work or end up with the role of "work wife". Companies that focus on bringing a diverse body of thought leadership to the management ranks will also include women, in order to drive towards being a great company.4. Measure hours, not results.
We live in a corporate culture and society that loves data and numbers. Numbers and hours are often used as an easy medium to manage employees. The article writes companies deter talent by "[k]eep[ing] an expensive cadre of stern enforcers busy with policing everybody. Don’t trust your talent to use their time wisely. Crack down on social media. Forbid personal activities during nine to five, even as you expect work to be conducted over the weekend
." Many companies also use hours of activities throughout the year to try and create positive morale and to keep everyone in sync. With many companies and employees focusing on the quantity of hours, work life balance can quickly become an issue for both employers and employees. Instead of focusing on the number of hours, companies should focus on driving employees to be results oriented in their approach to work.
5. Promote people straight up the ladder.
Studies have often shown that 20 years of doing the same job often does not equate to 20 years of job experience. The result of those 20 years is likely going to be someone that does not have the skills necessary to be adaptive and agile. The article writes, "fail to give your top talent the [
intentional] exposure to different parts of the business
[or businesses] through lateral moves"
and you will likely end up with a silo'ed narrow non-thinker who's been trained with a series of auto-responses and a pile of blind spots "thereby giving them the sensation of being narrowed over time, not broadened
." (Note: Specialists have a place always in companies and are important to have. It also depends on the company.) Companies need to remember that adaptability, agility, critical thinking and problem solving skills are important to grow in people as they progress through their career.
(Also note, not all employees aspire to and are meant to progress up.)6. Leave talent to HR (or Operations or Finance or ....)
HR folks are usually the rule creators and keepers in a company. They protect the company's interests in the name of law and regulation. They worry about benefits, 401Ks, and employee handbooks. They help with guidelines, employee complaints, sexual harassment issues, sick leave, and so on. Sort of like the policemen or firemen. They do not necessarily make the best talent managers or safe keepers. The article writes that HR are not the staff to be "expect[ed] ... to deal with the minutiae of personnel issues [as they are not the] visionaries in hiring
." The article contends that HR and Operations may not the best departments to take care of talent recruitment and retention. Very often, talent needs a different kind of attention. Companies who mindfully encourage focus on recruiting and talent management from the best in the leadership team often reap more of the rewards in retaining their talent.7. Hoard information.
There are different kinds of people in the world - ones that believe people are inherently good, and ones that believe the opposite. This is often played out in how transparent a company is with its employees. If a company is hiring folks that they believe are not mature enough, not capable of processing information that's important to the company or not capable of doing their jobs, then it makes sense to "hoard information" because the employees are not trustworthy. If so, then the following also makes sense from the article: "[k]eep decision-making securely ensconced in the airless bunker of the executive wing. Avoid empowering mid-tier employees lest they suddenly become entrepreneurial and unpredictable
." On the other hand, if the workforce is made up of employees that are mature, who are capable of critical thinking and are considered to be the company's talent, then keeping them engaged means increased transparency and trust. Many companies seem to struggle with the balance of how much and what information should be shared, and with whom. What studies have shown is that in general, when people are looked at with more of a positive lens, people tend to rise to the occasion as good, mature and trustworthy. This is important when it comes to cultivating talent.8. Don’t bother with training.
The article writes that many companies believe that "it’s costly, and employees will probably jump ship with their new skills. Instead, have your workers do the same tasks over and over in the same way
." Studies have generally shown, that training does the opposite of that - employees feel more engaged and loyal to their employer with that training investment. The thing about training is that it's often created and delivered in silos at many companies. Training is often reactive and training plans are often set up without the vision in focus. It's usually not tied to a business/company goal, and so, the training ends up just being a bunch of expensive time killing activity that employees then mistake for as being important to their careers. Training is important - and can be very effective in cultivating talent when done with keeping the vision (or outcome) in focus.
9. Hire outsiders.
The article writes, "after you have failed to train and develop your best people, follow it all up by stifling their ambitions for increased responsibility... they come to you and say, “I’m leaving,” express astonishment and outrage
." If the leadership does not know how or has not put in the planned time to focus on growing
people (specifically nurturing the talent from within), the easy answer is often to hire an outsider. There are several risks that come with hiring an outsider into management: 1) the outsider's delivery skills may be out of practice, even though in the past that person may have been good at it, 2) miss-alignment of expectations regarding the role, and 3) company talent picking up the slack for a period, maybe even longer, while the outsider ramps up, which can be a de-motivating experience. While hiring outsiders is important to the growth of a company in many ways, it's even more important that the outsider(s) explicitly align to the company's vision and values.10. Bungle the teams.
The article writes, "avoid mixing generations and skill sets, instead grouping like with like and producing stale and predictable solutions that excite nobody—but might be safer
." I'm not really sure how to respond to this one, so I'm making it #10. People grow when they are stretched and challenged - it's like building muscle. Tear, burn, nourish, burn, nourish to build. Repeat. By encouraging employees to go into new kinds of teams with different kinds of people, new domains, new initiatives, always learning and growing - employees will build the skills to be adaptable and agile. Fail to do that, employees will end up stagnant. Companies need that see it as their duty and opportunity to nurture that talent.
Companies spend a lot of resources trying to recruit the best talent. The trick is, once that talent has signed on and is in the "front door" of the company, working as a team to keep that talent from getting de-motivated.
How'd I do? Thoughts? Feedback?
I find that I am a seasonal person - I've got a natural wave that I ride throughout the year and it changes with the seasons. The "dips" where I begin questioning my direction in life, what I'm doing, and whether it's right for who/where/what/when I am happens usually in April and August. I think I noticed this seasonality in my early 20s... and it still remains true today. What I do know is that around these times, I try and make a conscious decision on the theme of that season (rather than just riding it unconsciously). I prefer to think that I own the choices and life I live.
My dip, as usual with my cycles, began in August again this year and continues on. I'll work myself out of it - maybe push it to the side again until the spring, OR maybe I'll look directly at it and ponder for awhile. Chew on it. This year, 2013, I'm chewing on it. I pushed it to the side last fall (2012), I distinctly remember that. In the spring of this year (2013), I remember having that itchy memory come up, but was so busy with this circus of a project that it got shoved into the corner.... until now.
I'm still dealing with it. August... September... and now, we're just about to enter October. It's been really bugging me - nagging me in the back of my mind with family, reading books, on walks... at work. Oh gosh... ESPECIALLY at work. I've grown as a human being, as a human adult over the past few years - and am very proud of the progress I've made (thanks to the help of those in my life, my husband, my family, my friends, my colleagues, my involvement with Pathwise). I have a vision of where I'd like to be in the next 6-10 years... and I feel torn. I see multiple paths. I see opportunities. I see so many choices. Crossroad. Fork. Suffering, excitement, anxiety, fear, confusion, determination, strength, wisdom, freedom all at the same time. ... It's October already... do I need to decide right now or do I push it to the side again until the Spring?
There are people out there who tell you you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say, 'watch me'. --Unknown
Lots has happened since I last blogged. So much. Top of mind right now is around how marriage just exposes how mature, or not mature, a person really is. Looking at myself, ... my conclusion is that I could probably be more giving and just a whole lot more open to others, my husband specifically, and people in general. And not a bad conclusion nor a bad reminder to myself. Maybe I'm growing up. Maybe my husband is a saint. Maybe he's growing up, too. Maybe we're just very lucky to have each other.
Prior to getting married, my husband used to visit his sister and nieces often - and since we've been married, he hasn't had a chance to see them. I finally got to meet the nieces he so adores... and my goodness, they sure do steal your heart. Honestly, I feel like I should have insisted on going over to visit them much sooner... (feeling slightly guilty)...
Here's a picture of us riding in the back of this mini-van... MINI-VAN! (Shocking... my husband feels that this would be a worthy investment for us someday....) Why? Why!? Supposedly practical (especially if you have kids.) It's got a DVD player for them in the back, too (hmm... yes, useful). It was kind of fun riding in the back with these two little ones. I hadn't seen a kid in so long, I guess I had forgotten how small they can be. ... mini-people they are.
We played hangman, tic-tac-toe, genetic tests like "can you roll your tongue", cool finger tricks, comparing fingers and toes.... Imagine that. It was kinda fun.
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We saw the bean, saw the fountain, went to Navy Pier, walked the Miracle Mile, visited American Girl, Pinkberry, ... I think in one day I collected over 19,000 #fitbit steps last Saturday!?! It was nice interacting with the young nieces (4, 6, and 8): holding hands while walking, getting hugs, giggling and teasing each other.
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Anyhow... this is a sort of discombobulated random blog post after several months of not posting... AND it is one that catches you up to one of our most recent weekends. :)
It'd be nice to see them again soon... though the challenge of coordinating travel across the country between family members is the even bigger challenge.
If you're reading between the lines, it means I'm warming up to the idea of children and family. ... We shall see.
BTW, hi again,
Pretty amazing man. A list of books he authored a mile long. My husband just pointed me to Peter Drucker's wiki... and many of the ideas that run through most of Drucker's writings that are quite interesting and worth checking out. Wiki Link HereNow I have to first go back and re-read The Social Animal. Then, I think I'm going to have to go out and buy Drucker's 2001 book, The Essential Drucker.~Arry
My side note: TGIF. February has been the month that just kept on going and going with no resting moment... (With only myself to blame), I'm kind of pissed at myself for not having gotten in one single blog post last month (February)... ...
Anyways, the post I shoulda woulda coulda have written last month is about this inside (no longer inside) "joke" my husband and I have with each other. It's all about, "thank you" and "you're welcome".
So simple. These are one of the very first simple pleasantries of social etiquette you learn as a very young child. What comes after, "thank you"? Why, it's "you're welcome!"
I'm going to point this out (on behalf of myself and my husband), and then you will start hearing it everywhere - the radio, at work, after dinner with friends, in gift-giving situations, on NPR, on the news, on television shows.... Today (and I mean it in the current times, say the past 5 years to today sense), you'll hear the following series, "thank you".... "[no], thank you". I think maybe a few years ago, maybe it was 5 years ago, maybe it's been going on for a decade, but at SOME point, "thank you - you're welcome", became "thank you - no, thank YOU!" .... which became "thank you - no, thank you" .... which became "thank you - thank you".
Thank you [for having me on your radio show].
[No] Thank you [for coming onto my radio show].
This might only be me, it might only be our thing (me and my husband) - but I really wonder, have we as a society lost our sense of grace, humility, and social etiquette, that we cannot accept a thank you from someone? The way it feels (more than it sounds) when you really sit and stew on this for moment, it feels like that the person who follows the "thank you" with a "thank you" is saying the following: No, I will not accept your thanks. I didn't do anything for you, because really, implicitly, I did whatever I did for me. I'd rather you accept my thanks, because that'll make me feel a little more comfortable. Really at the end of the day, I need to acknowledge you did the favor for me. I'm the one that benefited here. I am unworthy of the thanks - it was not my pleasure to serve you. I'd feel more comfortable acknowledging that it was you that has just served me by saying thank you instead.
Is that what you feel when you think about this? Are we that weirded out as a society from the idea that it's OKAY (actually, REALLY GOOD) to serve another person? And after having lovingly and graciously served another person, when receiving words of gratitude, are we as a society disturbed with the idea of OWNING the act of service by saying "you're welcome"? What's wrong with taking care of another? What's wrong with giving to another?
Try it. After someone says "thank you" to you, follow it old school with a gracious "you're welcome". You're welcome says that your action/gift/service/words was intentional. I was happy to do it. I am happy to have you over. I am happy to host you. I enjoy making your life better. I wanted to share with you those true words. I'd do it again. I accept your gratitude.
I believe it. Create yourself, over and over and over - it's part of the fun of life. :)
A headline caught my eye today and reminded me of my own 2013 mantra I've been trying to spread to my colleagues, family, and friends: "NO MORE CODDLING
!" (reminds me of our All Things Wishful mantra
). The article had the tagline, "Stop Reacting and Start Leading
" and underneath, the words, "To start off 2013 on a new note, consider this as an idea: people should be held responsible for solving their own problems." DING DING DING - YES YES YES. Hey. This isn't being mean or vindictive or unkind. Seriously. To constantly be saving someone's butt, to constantly be covering for someone's inefficiencies, to be constantly have your feet held to the fire week after week = THAT'S MEAN and I'd contend, SERIOUSLY CRUEL.
I'm not here (on this earth) to coddle. I'm not here to get worked to the bone. I'm here to live, to grow, and to work - make a positive impact or dent in this universe. I'm assuming those around me are here to do the same. (And to add to that, if you treat someone like a functioning adult, and if with coaching
the person grows and rises - how much BETTER
is that than doing via coddling?) It's a struggle many face, in our day-to-day jobs - and for those of us that want to rise and build platforms as leaders in our companies, communities, industries, .... to rise, we need EVERYONE on the team to rise up. I see this left and right, the over-functioning, over-performing soul that is doing the work of many. Yes, it's great that they are so awesome at doing so much - BUT it's not scalable. It's not healthy. It doesn't work.
I HATE working like that. If someone is not holding their own - let them know/coach them, give them an opportunity to stand up, and if they cannot - let them go. Hold people accountable - don't be afraid of letting failures happen (as they are learning moments & teaching opportunities).In the article, there were a lot of similarities to the Sales Leader versus the Consulting Leader (the world I work in).
The funny thing is, very often the "firefighter" will get promoted over and over again because they are "saving" the company from their self-created "destructive" non-decisions of ineffectiveness. Seems backwards to me.
Reactive "Firefighter" non-Leader
- Lacks focus
- Prisoner of the cell phone and email
- Doesn't plan, fails to prioritize
- Likes to solve all problems, likes to be the savior
- Needs to feel important, loved (or feared)
- Doer instead of coaching - problems re-occur
- Becomes the escalation point for everything
- Works hard, not smart
- Is not open to change or feedback
- Throws process or technology at problems
- Doesn't take the time to understand [xyz]
- Missed sales, missed revenue, ....
- Does not catch the "easy wins" (under-runs, overruns)
- Too busy putting out fires (often created by themselves)
- Not afraid of failures
- Open and transparent
- Effective, consistent, straight talking communicator
- Provides a clear vision (very important)
- Good time management.
- Looks for "coaching or teaching" moments
- Uses problems as teaching moments
- Takes feedback well
- "Lift" is demonstrated and taught
- Is okay with casualties (consciously made)
- Is okay with not being loved (or feared)
- Leads well-organized meetings.
- Leads by example, walks the talk
- Defined processes for preventing problems
- Best practices and solution options
We are ALL teachers. We are ALL coaches. We are ALL mentors. Yes, it takes a little more time - think of it this way, which game are you playing? The long game or the short game?
The long game. Invest wisely.
Quinoa is awesome!
2012 - yes, 2012 was the year it came together. 2011 is the year I started cleaning up my act after seeing this wonderful helpful wellness doctor (Mimi, SheIsWell.com)
for several months - I learned a bunch of things (she changed my life in so many ways) about me:
- DIET COKE IS POISONOUS! Remember my post on that from 2011? Every time I have ever accidentally had a drink w the fake sugars in it - it's reconfirmed each and every time. BAD.
- Beef. Meat and Arry do not go well together, particularly beef, rabbit, and pork. I really dislike the taste of chicken and pork any ways, so no big deal. Over the past year, every time I think I'm having a craving reminiscing about my once love for delicious hamburgers... and I eat one, I end up with nausea, deep aggravating sickness where I gag with each breath of air and I go stumbling around gasping for something bubbly ginger ale to stop the sickness.
- Alcohol. My love for boozing and schmoozing was not helpful to my health. My liver was not functioning - and with each toxic super processed "food" I ate, each dirty martini I ingested, and the late night hot dogs and pizza was being compounded on top of the last toxic thing I had put into my body to exponentially disable my body further and further away from health... I still struggle with this. I try to manage it by minimizing my time out on the social scene.
- Dairy. Oh dairy. Cheese. Pizza! Cream cheese. Sour cream. Yogurt. ... I used to and still do LOVE the taste of these wonderful decadent dairy products... However, as I started cleaning up my act and my awareness of how much what I ate or drank was affecting my health and happiness... (similar to the feelings of nausea when I eat certain very rich meats), I would notice this disturbing gross unpleasant after-taste whenever I ate dairy. WHY!? I have no idea... it doesn't go away very easily either. Experience this a few too many times, I've learned to dislike dairy - dislike what it does to me. My nutrition major friends at Cornell would tell me, "dairy is for baby calves - not human adults". I should have listed to them a decade ago.
- Processed ____. Bread. Cookies. Refined sugars. Pasta. All sorts of processed machine genetically modified chemically enhanced non-foods are not good for me. Pasta is my weakness - so I still eat pasta (but the super kinds made from Quinoa and quality grains). The other stuff - tastes pretty good going down, but then when I started becoming more and more aware of what I was eating, it seemed to be counter-intuitive to be putting that sort of stuff into myself after all the other efforts I was putting in. After all, (see list above), I learned that there are some unsavory-once-thought-to-be-delicious things I used to enjoy eating that were no longer enjoyable and helpful to me.
So where does that leave me? It leaves me mostly vegan (because I'm human). I've been mostly vegan for about a year now and have been becoming more and more so to this day. I feel healthier. Cleaner. ... and then learning, reading, watching more about the way food is produced today... well, as you know, they say ignorance is bliss... So what do I do as I get to know more and more...
I have a choice: 1) make a change or 2) pretend to be ignorant and continue on. Decided to make the change - and thankfully, my husband is in full support. I'm healthier, happier, less sick, supporting the other mammals who have feelings (like my sweet Mochi puppy), and... lessening our carbon footprint. :)~Arry
Photo with my husband on New Year's Eve
Caveat = these themes are "works in progress":
At home, in the entry way, we have a very large whiteboard that greets you. On it, we have three bullets, with three themes written next to them. We read the three themes everyday - sometimes the themes get edited, a word added, changed, removed... or sub-bullets added...
1. Be: slow, thoughtful, planned, committed, aware
- Community, friendships
- Our war chest and savings
- Our family strength (home, quality time) <3
3. Explore and travel together
Think we need to add a couple more - make it five themes. Still working on it - probably be something about developing platforms and knowledge in the world of design and technology. Maybe one on working towards and accomplishing one big personal goal (Dae is working on his 2013 Iron Man) - I have to commit to that one big personal goal still.