She needed a ride.

I drove my friend to the shop to get her car following some work.

Cars need routine maintenance to keep them running well but given that they'll have a long performance life. Diesels can easily attain a half million miles of service or more with care. That's a lot of driving folks.

People aren't cars, but ask yourself:

Have you checked the service manual for your people?

Like a clean new car at first everything is great.While talking with some managers the other day the theme rolled into the lack of talent and how difficult it was to compete due to same. Ultimately though we agreed it seemed like we'd been able to find good talent initially (very few new hires were “busts”) but somehow over time performance shifted.

New isn't forever.

The psychology of new is fascinating: people get excited about something new – new car, new home, new hire. We're so pleased with new. Over time new isn't new any more and we're attracted to other things.

People aren't things

Lots of people talk about the talent shortage: I don't buy it. Its a convenient excuse for “we don't take care of our people.” Its code for “I want something new.”

While the effects of global recession have undoubtedly recast specific industries and disciplines into a new set of winners and losers with significant skill shortages in some there's still a surplus of talent.

We lack discipline in taking care of that talent

How do you take care of talent? People need regular attention:

  1. Goal Clarity – People cannot succeed without goals – they have to know what counts. Keep these as constant as possible given the rate of change in the world
  2. Feedback – You need lots of feedback especially early on. The first six weeks in large part determine new hires' ultimate affinity to your company. Teach them feedback wins
  3. Stretch – People like growth: compel them to keep stretching and they'll find the workplace challenging. Stretch them on the rack and they'll find the workplace tortuous. Stretch correctly
  4. Inclusion – The more involved people are with your team's plans, direction, progress, setbacks and results the more they care. The more removed they are, the less. Include people to engage them
  5. Direction – From dishwasher to architect people can figure out how to do their work. Give them the general direction and then let them plan and do their work accordingly. Get out of the way

Its sexy to talk about talent wars and talent shortages today. But sometimes we need to be less sexy and more effective.

Make the tough choice to care about people not only when relationships are new and fresh but over time. Talent sustains and blooms when cared for.

Isn't that what we do?



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