The average turnover rate since 2002 has stayed steady between three and four percent. Many businesses have far higher averages than that. Since 2008 an even worse problem with employee loyalty has steadily grown: people who quit and stay. I have been in many businesses where people are there only because they have nowhere else to go. Guess how productive those employees are.
I am constantly trying to improve my understanding of business, life and people. I have been getting into TED talks as of late. Hearing what brilliant minds are thinking, studying and observing has been helping me better define what I think, say and do. I just ran across Simon Sinek, talking about leadership.
I have numerous examples of the reverse of what Simon is saying. I have been in business after organization after corporation where people are being told what to do and how to do it. Almost without exception, they are not happy in their jobs. They are not motivated to work together, help their clients, or even just do their own job. The only exception occurs when I meet someone who has their own internal motivation for being there.
I was recently reading “Are Your Employees Drivers or Victims of Process Innovations?” and it brought up some interesting thoughts. I have been writing about the challenges of business constantly focusing on the systems instead of the people, and here were several different examples of how doing just that had hurt organizations.
When most businesses are looking to make more money, they do one of two things. They either try and find a way to increase revenue, or they look for ways to cut expenses. Usually when looking for ways to cut expenses, they look at processes and systems. The challenge that this article points out is that creates a focus on numbers and percentages and keeps you blind to a huge asset you have: your people.
Over the last two days I have been pre-interviewing close to twenty people in order to get them prepared for an upcoming customized program and to get myself prepared for the personalities I get to work with. What I found was something that I find pretty much everywhere, so I felt this was a great time to think about it: everything is everyone else’s fault.
Up until three or four years ago, an individual consumer did not have a lot of power when it comes to affecting a business and their bottom line. That is not in any way true today. The internet has given the individual incredible power when it comes to how a business does, and that is only going to become more and more true.
You are trying to get your work done, when one of your employees gives you a call. You find yourself pulled in to their issue. This is what you are supposed to do. You are there for them. You finally get their issue resolved, and back to your project when another employee stops in to discuss an issue that they are having. This one ends up taking the rest of your day and you have to stay late because you are responsible for getting your work done on time as well. Does this sound like a normal day for you?
It is not everyday that a billionaire tells the world about you, so today I get to toot my own horn. Wednesday night on the CBS show “Person to Person” Warren Buffett was profiled. He walked the audience through his office and discussed the things there that were important to him. I will let him do the talking instead of me:
Skip to minute 6:00 if you only want to hear the part about Dale Carnegie. (I would recommend watching the whole thing though as he talks about his philosophy of investing throughout.)
I worked with a government official. Let’s call him “Dan.” He had an issue where he never heard about the problems his people were having until it was too late. The issues had already grown to the point where his people were furious, feuding and in some cases, even quitting. I asked him to try out something: stop criticizing his people. “Dan” implemented this one change and within two weeks his people were coming to him with their issues long before they got blown out of proportion.