First Friday Book Synopsis

"…like CliffNotes on steroids…"

Why Top Talent Leaves: Top 10 Reasons Boiled Down to 1

Here is an excerpt from another outstanding article featured by Forbes magazine’s website and written by Erika Andersen. To read the complete article, check out other resources, sign up for free email alerts, and obtain subscription information, please click here.

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Eric Jackson, a fellow Forbes blogger I follow and find both funny and astute, wrote a really spot-on post last month about why top talent leaves large corporations. He offered ten reasons, all of which I agreed with – and all of which I’ve seen played out again and again, over the course of 25 years of coaching and consulting.  The post was wildly popular – over 1.5 million views at this writing.

So why do we find this topic so interesting?  I suspect it’s because we’re genuinely curious: What would make a very senior executive – someone who most certainly has been courted by his or her organization and then paid huge sums of money to join – decide to pack it in?  Is it greed (an even richer offer down the street)?  Hubris? Short attention span?  Or do 1%ers actually leave jobs for the same reasons  as the average Joe or Josie?

According to Jackson (and, again, I agree with him) top talent does indeed leave for the same reasons everyone else does.  If I were to distill his ‘top ten reasons’ down to one, it’s this:

Top talent leave an organization when they’re badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring.

About half of Eric’s ten reasons are about poor people management – either systemically, as in poor performance feedback, or individually, as in, my boss sucks.  And the other half are about organizational lameness: shifting priorities, no vision, close-mindedness.

It really is that simple. Not easy, mind you, but remarkably simple. If you want to keep your best people….

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Erika then offers two practical suggestions that can be implemented immediately. To read the complete article, please click here.

As she explains, “I’m the founding partner of Proteus International, the author of Growing Great Employees and Being Strategic, and an insatiably curious human being. I love figuring out how people, situations and objects work – and how they could work better: faster, smarter, deeper, with greater satisfaction, more affection, and a higher fun quotient. You can follow me on Twitter @erikaandersen.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is There a House in the Doctor? – Diagnosis and the Work of Business Coaches/Consultants

Last night was the end – Everybody Dies.  I have been a fan of Dr. Gregory House for a long time, and the series ended very well.  It felt “right.”

If you’ve never watched House, you won’t know that he was driven by the challenge of “solving the puzzle.”  He was the preeminent puzzle solver.  As fictional head of Diagnostic Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, he got the cases that no one else could solve.  He would only take the case if it was “interesting.”  If the case was too easy to solve, he would just cast it off to another, “lesser” doctor.  (And, yes, he cared more about the puzzle than the actual patientMaybe).  He constantly worked in collaboration with his team — and, a time or two when the team was not available, he would recruit anyone, including the janitor, to listen to him think out loud.  And though he was something of a world class jerk (“ass” is what Wilson called him in his last episode), he was also a world-class observer, and listener.  Not necessarily an empathetic listener, just a thorough listener.

The show was prompted by Lisa Sanders, the doctor/author who inspired the series.  Here is a key paragraph as she reflected on  the experience (from the Daily Beast, ‘House’ Finale: Interview With Doctor Lisa Sanders):

There’s this meeting that happens every day in every teaching hospital in the country. It’s either called “resident report” or “morning report” and in it, internists in training and experienced internists go to this one room every day, and one or two patients are presented, and you walk your way through this mystery. When I went to that meeting, in my third year of medical school, I don’t even remember what the case was, but I remember thinking, My god, these are doctors acting like Sherlock Holmes, doctors as detectives. I recognized this and it changed my understanding of medicine profoundly.

The important task is this:  Finding the problem.  It really does come before you can find a solution.  (And, sometimes, there is no solution to be found).

One business consultant/coach that I know boils his approach down to this:  “I find the point of the most pain in a company, and then I go to work.”  In other words, diagnosis before solution.  He works like Dr.. House.

I have read a lot of business books.  And plenty of them say that there are a lot of “broken” companies out there, a lot of “sick” companies.  They are sick from what they don’t do, as well as what they do.

And so many are in denial!

“let’s think about what you can do to become an enemy of entropy. First, you have to protect yourself against denial.”  (Gary Hamel, What Matters Now).

Dr. Gregory House, hard at work

Many of the minutes in many of the House episodes showed Dr. House just sitting, staring into space, throwing his ball against the wall, tapping or twirling his cane, as he thought.  I think it was the best job I have ever seen in a movie or tv show capturing the “work” of thinking.  Make no mistake: thinking, done by the right thinker, is incredibly valuable work.

Here’s my thought for your company, and mine.  You may be very sick.  Or, you may be in good health, but there could be troubles coming your way.  You may be too close to see your own illness, or your own vulnerabilities.  But if you don’t diagnose the problem, you may not survive when it hits with full force.  So, make sure that someone will spend some time doing the very needed, critical diagnostic work.  You may have to hire the right, brilliant doctor — not every doctor loves the “puzzle.”  But unless your case is an easy one, you may have to find someone who loves the complexity of your puzzle, someone who loves the challenge.

You may have to find a doctor with a House inside of him/her.

Oh – and I’m really going to miss Dr. Gregory House.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Posted by | Randy's blog entries | , , | Leave a comment

“Caveat emptor” in the Twilight Zone

The laws have gotten rather strict about providing warning labels in the public’s interest.

That said, you have to wonder about the intelligence (or lack thereof) of those who devised these for consumers in the UK.

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On Sainsbury’s peanuts:

“Warning: contains nuts.”

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On Boot’s Children Cough Medicine:

“Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.”

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On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:

“Product will be hot after heating.”

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On a Sears hairdryer:

“Do not use while sleeping.”

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On a bag of Fritos:

“You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.”

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On a bar of Dial soap:

“Directions: Use like regular soap.”

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On some Swanson frozen dinners:

“Serving suggestion: Defrost.”

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On packaging for a Rowenta iron:

“Do not iron clothes on body.”

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On Nytol Sleep Aid –

“Warning: May cause drowsiness.”

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On most brands of Christmas lights:

“For indoor or outdoor use only.”

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On a Japanese food processor –

“Not to be used for the other use.”

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On an American Airlines packet of nuts:

“Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts.”

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On a child’s Superman costume:

“Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.”

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On a Swedish chainsaw:

“Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | 1 Comment

   

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