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Older and Better

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

Among the more common complaints of small business owners is that they cannot find good help, often expressed as, “People just don’t want to work!” According to surveys addressing the issue, they are likely referring to the large but shrinking youth workforce, which is surprisingly disadvantaged in this and other ways. In fact, 86 percent of the 4.2 million increase in the workforce is in those over 55.

There are good reasons for an older work force, such as lower “past retirement” nest eggs, the lure of flexible hours, the high cost of living, the excitement in productive work, and not least, the view that experience is invaluable to all organizations. Co-workers consider older workers a positive influence, good mentors and models, and a font of experience that derives near entirely from longevity.

The Nationwide Building Society survey (2014) shows that the 55 plus worker has fewer sick days, lower loss of workdays from partying, and a greater responsibility to goals and achievement than younger workers. In fact, 70 percent of the 55 plus set arrive early to work, compared with 47 and 50 percent of those aged 25-35 and 18-24, respectively.

The shortage of qualified workers presents an opportunity for businesses small and large. The older worker has one more advantage. He/she has that all-important perspective not yet developed in the young worker. The enterprise may depend on this more than anything else to succeed.

Older workers are more flexible, less in need of a career wage; they exhibit a grateful attitude toward their companies and co-workers, and are clearly the most stable members of the workforce. Further, their contribution goes beyond functional knowledge; they uniquely provide the wisdom, diligence, and practice habits necessary to goals achievement. And, they are more willing to encourage team members often seen as competition by contemporaries.

Older workers have learned the balance between work and home life and are more willing to share the wisdom of age than younger counterparts. As models, there is no equal to experience. It’s an element of work that is uniquely theirs.

One in three workers is over the age of 50, but only 18 percent of US employers have a strategy to hire older workers. This fact is the opportunity in the workforce that small business needs, perhaps more than any other. It may not be that businesses cannot find “good people.” Rather, it may be that they haven’t yet tapped America’s aging population to fill the need. Opportunity awaits those who do.

 

This column was first published in early 2014. In September of 2015 the movie “The Intern” appeared in theaters. The story line is prodigious and complements the column perfectly.

 

February 9, 2018 |

It’s You!

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

More than any other question is the one that defines each individual, each effort toward the achievement of the next planned goal—the simple definition of success. In advising others, we occupy sacred ground. How do we help without giving over to a simple expression of the way we are, as though our way is the answer for everyone who asks: What should I do with my life? Today, the most quoted answer is engineering, healthcare, or government. These are the high-growth areas. We must first, and foremost, take stock of who, in the most essential guise, is the asker.

Once a common understanding of this quality joins our thinking, we may ask the second essential question: How good do you want to be… at something? Same question in different words: How hard are you willing to work to achieve it? The answer helps to clear the way for the potential in the asker. We may all be “able to prepare” for the outcome we seek, but few are willing to do the work. The so-called work begins with a realistic self-assessment, the stuff that begins the process of self-esteem building. The last, though not least among its building blocks is “personal accomplishment.” Without these, one can only imagine a brighter future. The idea is more the “Hollywood Effect,” or the mistaken notion that if others, their apparent success as witness, can reach great heights, so can we. Unfortunately, one may only move from one place to another by taking individual steps. Some things we alone must accomplish. Good luck—where preparation and opportunity meet—may appear given of little personal effort, but the experienced would deny it.

The people you work with are the incredible resources necessary to a brighter future. When we invest ourselves in their success, and they do likewise, the results are astounding. Join with those that are going somewhere, with purpose, and for the good of all, and personal dreams come into focus. This is how one engages others and how many become the vehicle to personal dreams. This level of fulfillment is not only personal, but also delivers the energy that fuels collaborative work.

We gain fulfillment when actively engaged in meaningful work. When joined with others of the same mind, financial and corporate results soar. Organizations with strong financial results have employee engagement levels that are twice those with poor financial results. The numbers are similar for those organizations that have better customer experiences, which relate directly to the attitude of the organization’s most valuable resource—people.

The limbic system of the human brain informs much of how we feel about things and the decisions we make. Few elements of brain function provide more direction than this system to realize one’s personal aspirations. Although there is much to do in exercising the healthy use of it, the limbic system benefits greatly from an outside/inside view of the world. That is, how we see it as an extension of ourselves.

When one sees another living out a core value of the group or society, engagement jumps by double digits, according to studies. It is no wonder that the very powerful sense of belonging (to others) that is in each plays such a significant part in the achievement of life goals. Fulfillment may be just two levels above, but requires that we first grow a healthy model in addressing our sense of belonging. In the pursuit of our personal best, we must do a few simple things:

  1. Find Clarity: Know where you are going, how it feels to imagine it, and write it down. Thought becomes behavior. The simple act of acknowledgement begins the process called “knowing,” the total body immersion in the person you want to become.
  2. Commit to Action: Envision the steps along the way. Include the hard parts, such as a long educational commitment, or apprenticeship. Map out the sequence of events, and add the flexibility necessary to adjustments (not excuses) along the way.
  3. See Your Dreams Moving “Toward You”: See all things as puzzle pieces to your goals, as though each has purpose and fits well. Take a position as one who claims the things that happen daily as necessary to your ultimate goals. Watch them coming toward you.

We have little more important to do than to grow with every tick of the clock. We must be ready and available as growth opportunities arise. It is not only our desire to fulfill our personal dreams; it is also our birthright.

 

February 2, 2018 |

Count Your Losses

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

Most of what you hear from me is about winning in the marketspace. I trust it is on solid moral grounds that I recommend any action you might take to grow your organizations. By and large, however, this column is about growing something—people, attitudes, initiatives, product and market strength, and the underpinning ethic that informs good citizenship. It is about gain.

The model of a successful organization is one that is tilted forward in the marketplace, embracing risk as though it were another flight of stairs to climb. It is one whose people and institutions are aligned with its goals, whose same people are in pursuit of personal and professional growth and that also know that to achieve the greatness they desire requires a mighty dose of unselfish giving of themselves to others, for their successes first.

We have studied the ways to assess the market; its internal workings. As well, we have looked at how to measure its performance, its potential, and the opportunity in it and us to realize the promise it holds for self-fulfillment and a better life and legacy.

In more than seven hundred columns, we’ve considered tools, models of efficiency, execution cultures, focus, leadership, management techniques, problem solving and decision making, managing risk, change, conflict, talent and conquering doubt, engagement, benchmarking, trust, passion, commitment, and failure.

In the process of that development, we face challenges that test our mettle, that reveal the person inside, that measure our stomach for the war game we call business. At times, the struggle is a little greater than we’d choose to endure if the choice were ours in the first place. It usually isn’t, save for the planned failure that gives light to a natural model in the behavioral tracking of people at work.

We’ve also learned that there is no productive value in blame or excuses, no less than from Dick Lyles’ book Winning Habits, in which he describes as the second winning habit the urging to never trade results for excuses. It’s a winsome idea, since we know that they (excuses) are born of fear, and that fear robs us of our courage; our will to press on.

At times, in the struggle, we must be willing to allow failed initiatives to die, to shut down even long-running operations in favor of building an entirely new lineup of products, be willing to embrace loss, endure pain, temporarily lose freedoms, build relationships with competitors, accept compromise, and imagine a marketspace, even life as we know it, markedly different than the comfortable one we know.

These are often counted as losses, and rightfully so. Our usual “take-no-prisoners” verve whines wistfully when what we counted highly on the way to achievement measures differently in the end. It is when we are less in control of things than we’d like to be. It is when our perspective floats around us like the vast sea as we struggle to keep afloat without aid of fins or flotation devices. It is when we count loss, not give up, but just count loss because it is real.

Someday I hope to hear grandchildren call me grandpa, to ride ten miles on my Trek 1200 at 75 as I do now, to count wisdom greater than wealth, and to see the living things around as more than just resources. Someday I hope to gain perspective on all the things I do and find others in the midst of my joy. And someday I hope to get over the loss of Argento, who at just under two years old left this world a cancer victim. I miss him waking me in the morning as he left my side in bed, and his warm and peaceful, carpeted skin on my lap as I sat and read, and his deep throaty purring that called to an ancient wisdom. Despite all that I know about gain, on that day I counted loss.

 

 

January 26, 2018 |

The Root to Attitude

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

During a recent (rare) holiday with my sister, we launched into a discussion of her work environment. It’s no small wonder, given my irrepressible interest in the business of business. As she detailed the challenges of her operations (as an airline passenger agent) I could hear in them many of the principles of organizational development—leadership, management, salesmanship, decision making, problem solving, attitude building, etc.—that inform right practices. Her terms were different from those common to us who work in the Organization Development field, but as clear and right meaning as any we use.

In the discussion, she got to the point of asking aloud why people do what they do, even though they know better. It is always the right question, and here too, she had the right answer. “They seem to prepare themselves for failure, for poor performance, even though they say the opposite is their goal.” Brilliant! From deep within her real life experience at work, she could feel both the result and the desire for the answer losing their way in so many around her. And in the fullness of that visceral expression she would encourage her fledglings, “You’ve got to bring more than your lunch to work.” Prophetic!

“Fear and Trembling”

In this seminal work by Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher and existentialist (a philosophical movement that denies that the universe has any intrinsic meaning or purpose and requires individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and shape their own destinies), three stages of personal development in commitment are formulated. It is, perhaps, an early attempt at getting to the roots of attitude, the very thing my sister encouraged in offering the advice above.

As Kierkegaard explains it, there are three stages of commitment—the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. In simple terms, each forms a level of commitment that dictates the energy and extent to which we perform against expectations. In Kierkegaard’s view, we are “least resistance” oriented. We begin our journey with no “real” or “inured” commitments—simply, we do what feels good. We conform to peer pressure and societal norms around us—the line of least resistance. Few in this position ever consider that they have made a choice as a matter of commitment.

The second stage of commitment begins the process of forming the will in our behavior. Choice, then, is the rudder of our lives. In this stage, we embrace a set of values and beliefs versus alternatives that others might choose, we associate with a group for support and encouragement in living out our choices, and we find a “rational” basis for our choice—that is, we can explain it. These three attributes form the second stage of Kierkegaard’s view of commitmentthe “ethical” stage. However, even though these commitments are “strong and vital,” dependence on the group for continuing approval and support tends to limit the “depth” of one’s personal commitment, according to Kierkegaard.

The third stage of commitment more fully reflects our true self, inasmuch as it is a choice that is independent of the group or its approval. Even though this third level of commitment is normally associated with a group and can be explained rationally, the individual’s “choice” remains his own, independent of the good or poor opinion others may have of him. Here, the individual chooses what he believes is right—the highest form of commitment—completely free of peer pressure, group influence, and praise. This “religious” stage is the highest form of commitment, says Kierkegaard, because it is one’s choice alone, fully disclosed and honest before God. As Kierkegaard puts it, this form of commitment confronts the issue of “honest-to-God” sincerity and is far less available to hypocrisy and deceit than either the “aesthetic” and “ethical” forms. Thus, he chose to call it the “religious” stage of commitment.

Osgood-deVries Attitude Curve

In a continuing effort to reveal the nature of attitude for its elemental goodness, Donald Osgood, management sage, joined with Paul deVries, teacher, philosopher, and thinker, to further inform the process of attitude development. The Osgood-deVries Attitude Curve is what resulted, and in this form helps to simplify the method by which individuals can attain the level of “real” commitment.

 

 

 

 

Similar in many ways to Kierkegaard’s “stages of commitment,” the Attitude Curve suggests that we begin relationships—at work, in society—in an idealistic frame. That is, we are confident in our values and beliefs system, our abilities, and the notion that only the best of things will result. This view, necessarily naïve, leads us to the second level on the curve, according to the authors of it—frustrated! Because reality is so often different from our ideal view, we become frustrated by the unfulfilled expectations of our own naïveté, eliciting fear, anxiety, and indecision.

This leads to defiance, the third level on the Attitude Curve. Realizing that we must take actions to cure these ills, we take matters into our own hands. This may be akin to Kierkegaard’s “ethical” stage in which “choice” comes into play. Unfortunately, defiance too often turns negative and destructive, especially when buried deep inside us, festering a hidden disease. We’ve all seen this behavior in the workplace with those who believe they have been betrayed by the company and begin taking actions to get even. We talk covertly about the ills of the company, its management, and decision making, growing discontent among the ranks along the way.

Those who harbor a defiant attitude usually slip into the fourth position on the Attitude Curve; they are resigned to the mediocrity and dispassion of the defeated. Such purposelessness often breeds the classical behavior of disappointed—disapproval—anger. The destructive nature of this syndrome is legend for its ill effects in the personal and professional lives of people. These people are lost in the interstitial tissue of their lives, hardly aware of their numbness or of the lemming-like quality others see in them. Interestingly, this is a fulcrum point in the development of “attitude.”

This low ebb is where we must go to confront the wrong in us; what all 12-step programs know must precede the first step to recovery—awareness. But without ownership of the problem, there is no solution, simply because we do not solve problems we do not have. It is only after we have achieved this realization, when we have uncovered the untoward effects of our resignation, defiance, and frustration that we can begin to see the opportunity in recovery. It is here that hope is “initiated,” and here that problem solving can begin. As Osgood explains it, at this point we become aware of the damage we have caused and aware of the need to form the seeds of change—inside and out.

Doing something about our condition is a responsible act, and requires the sixth element on the Attitude Curve—decisiveness. We take the rudder in hand, as in Kierkegaard’s view, accountable and responsible for what happens to us from that moment on. We are personally empowered in the process of achieving our own outcomes, and positive by a realistic self-assessment (the 1st element of self-esteem) that we can accomplish what is important to us.

As we grow stronger in decision making, we move on to the highest level of the Osgood-deVries Attitude Curve, that of fulfillment—we are committed. Absent the guilt associated with perfection, we pursue our greatest ideals with a sense of purpose and energy that produces results or personal achievement (the 2nd element of self-esteem).

Not coincidentally, commitment and accountability are inextricably tied to one another. When we are committed, we are accountable to ourselves, to meaningful others, and to God in the sense that we are “realistic, sincere, flexible, purpose driven, and open.” Most of us might not think much about the root of attitude, though very few would count another human quality as more important to the success of any endeavor. Why, then, don’t we do what we know is right and true? Why have we resigned ourselves to the ignominy of a failed existence when so much more is in us? Perhaps, as Kierkegaard, Osgood, deVries, and my sister have discovered, opportunity begins with an awareness that (at least in the workplace) it is necessary to bring more to work than your lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 19, 2018 |

It’s Not Them

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

If the average work life is fifty years and the average life of a company is thirty, the image of a lifelong job (in America) is no longer a young man in a “gray flannel suit.” So what is it? What is today’s image? The reality is that we don’t know if we will be working in a private office, a classroom, at home, or in a garage. Simply, we’ve got to take responsibility for ourselves.

Ours is a time of great change, where everything about who we are and what we do is changing more rapidly than at any time in the past. The critical path under such circumstances as we live and work today requires more of us than ever. Simply, today’s image of the worker is one who takes individual responsibility, not depending on any particular company or organization. We must know ourselves better, the essentials of the best work for us as we develop professionally, and the balance we manage between personal and professional life goals.

Significantly, very few workers have prepared for this most important decision process. The reason? We have been lulled into the mistaken belief that “employeeship” transfers the responsibility for our work, and to some extent our life decisions to others, not least the organization. We seldom know our strengths and how they are evidenced in the workplace. Questions over our weaknesses produce a blank stare. Both views are motivated of the fear in confronting frankly the growth in us still ahead.

The solution, an optimal art form, is found in risk-based entrepreneurial environments and in those whose sense of internal security has already been accomplished. This approach requires that we see our work as the accomplishment of assignments and not as a job or career path. The objective criteria that define jobs and careers, an anachronism that subjugates the enterprise in us in favor of playing it safe behind the wall of a job description, must evolve into competencies that are revealed in our performance. This is the meritocracy that informs growth and opportunity in all organizations. Anything short of it is the artifice of a legacy system that has lost its footing in a world of rapid change and disruptive innovations.

Each must take responsibility for what s/he leads and achieves, independent of the obstacles and attitudinal roadblocks that are all too common to most organizations. We must see opportunity in others and all things, growing the inner strength and competency to navigate all traffic. This is the demand on performance that grows with the speed and complexity of the marketplace.

The elements of performance count a unique focus on individual contribution to team and agreed-upon goals, the courage to take necessary risks, the security to make mistakes or measured failures, and the open commitment to purpose that reveals one’s limitations and strengths to better prepare the path to optimal results. It is not the view that others, management in particular, have constrained individual opportunity, making it impossible to satisfy agreed-upon goals. This view is the delusion of the desultory—those who are in search of a workplace that has packed up and left town on the last stagecoach. In short, it’s not them; it’s you who makes the difference.

During “The Great Recession” the market lost 43 percent of its equity (14,000 to 8,000 of the Dow Jones Composite Average), 25 percent (effectively) of its employed, 45 percent of its real estate value, 25-50 percent of the dollar’s value against most currencies, and roughly 18 percent of its GDP in the months following the Fall of 2007. There can be no mistaking this reality but by the delusion of successive political administrations. Nor can workers cling desperately to government, unions, or laurels. Instead, they must join together as though preparing the foxhole they occupy as the temporary digs from which to launch the next initiative. The final question is not how to know when to stop attacking the marketplace, but rather in finding the answer: “ … We will never stop attacking it.” By the strength of those who have thrown off the shackles of a bygone security, each must take up his staff to improve his individual contribution to the whole. This alone is the Occam’s Razor* of a marketplace bereft of patience.

 

* Occam’s Razor—logical concept that postulates: all other things being equal, the simplest answer is probably the best.

January 12, 2018 |

Who’s Behind the Wheel?

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

Few wish the worst to happen. We are ever hopeful in most things, not least our children. In the midst of the late economic malaise we might add “work” and “economic security” to a growing list of the “hoped-for.” More people were out of work or “gainfully employed” than at any time, save one, in the history of the U.S. But when things aren’t going so well for us we look to others for help and to blame.

Such is the case today, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Even after this protracted global meltdown, the most severe economic slowdown ever short of The Great Depression, the discussion is dominated by what “governments” can do to pull us out of this downward spiral. And since we have largely relinquished control of our fiscal, monetary, and socioeconomic decision-making to government, it is reasonable that we look there first for solutions. But is the wrong person in the front of the car?

Most agree that “growth” is the issue. Virtually every sector is declining but health care and government—the things “we the people” are unable to afford. If the argument is that both are out of control, does it make the most sense to let those institutions solve their own problems and also others—housing, credit debt, investment, exports, energy independence, overrun borders, and infrastructure? The condition of America’s roads and bridges, for example, is among the worst of developed nations. According to the ASCE (American Society for Civil Engineers), roughly 33 percent of America’s roads rate below “acceptable ride quality,” costing us each between $300-$400 a year in vehicle repairs. And America’s deadliest roads are closest to home, not the superhighways that speed us between cities. Worse, 28 percent of America’s 600,000 bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

But if growth is the issue that solves most problems, who is responsible for it and how is it accomplished? Simply, there is no clear evidence that government work or “stimulus” programs are successful at solving unemployment or growth objectives. They are slow and typically lag the collective results of individuals acting on their own behalf. Okun’s Law reveals that a 1 percent reduction in the unemployment rate requires a GDP growth of 2 percent higher than the annual growth trend. Today that trend is 2.5 percent, which means we need a 4.5 percent growth rate to reduce unemployment to 8 percent.

According to Milton Friedman, among the great economic thinkers in modern history, “… there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free enterprise system.”

Life is hard, but opportunity is real for those who seek it, and by their own hand. America was built on the backs of immigrants whose hope lived in their willingness to work, their genius for finding opportunity in their circumstances, faith in themselves, the freedom to act on their desires, and a system of free enterprise that encouraged it. When you look around you and inside you’ll find all these things. If you read “government” in these words you have failed to see the opportunity in yourself to get behind the wheel.

Happy New Year!

 

January 5, 2018 |

People

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

In her signature song by the same name, Barbra Streisand, the extraordinary vocalist and actress, uncovered an essential condition in us — our child-like nature.

 

People who need people,

Are the luckiest people in the world.

We’re children, needing other children,

And yet letting a grown-up pride,

Hide all the need inside,

Acting more like children than children.

 

The opening line in the celebrated book by Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” is testimony to the dysfunction common to man, and a poignant view of the fundamental workings of the human condition. Tolstoy, in this engaging novel, positions the crises of family life with his desire to find the meaning in life and social justice.

People, as we have all discovered, are the single most important and influential “others” in our lives. Yet, though we are social beings by nature, living with each other in harmony may be the most difficult thing we humans accomplish. Historians, international business persons, teachers, politicians, poets and novelists alike, and even our pets, know all too well the difficulty in accomplishing a “single organizing idea” among a group of people. Frankly, not even the almighty God — for all that people of faith believe He has done — has, yet to join the world in peaceful coexistence. People, it would appear, are loath to be, well, “people.”

A defining theme in the book, Anna Karenina, is the idea that predestination is an incontrovertible fact. It means to suggest, as the philosopher and theologian John Calvin offered, that God (in His omniscience) both knows and pre-ordains all that will happen to us here on Earth. The idea that we have anything to do with the ultimate outcome of things is antipodal to this view, and divides the Church in a theological rift between predestination and free will, itself a fundamental tenet of world faiths and behavioral science. Calvin was, perhaps driven to this “legalistic” view by his formal training as a lawyer. Tolstoy, on the other hand, in proposing the same view, found it impossible to reconcile it by his actual experience with people; thus, he proposed that while “predestination” was a known fact, one could only attain the hope in harmony with others by imagining “free will.”

Why the psychology lesson under the guise of Return On Investment (ROI)? Ms. Streisand, for all of her artistic prowess, is legend for her absolute requirement that she control all aspects of her work and its results. And while we might agree that the result justifies her means, it is by her own admission that deep insecurities are what had driven her to perfectionism. Each of the individuals above, it seems, has formed a method in which to make decisions, that which is at the root of our behavior as humans. In fact, according to some: “We all do exactly what we decide to do; we are the sum of our decisions.” Decision making, then, may determine who and what we are more than anything we do. Decisions are sometimes quick, and others may take years. Yet, for the influence they prove to be in our lives, the process remains mysterious and wizardry or art.

Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research, lists over 5,000 studies and monographs on executive decision making. But when asked to reveal the common thread that qualifies an effective leader, its editor was unable to do so. The confusion over the practice is enlightened by the comment of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who divined: Once — many, many years ago — I thought I made a wrong decision. Of course, it turned out that I had been right all along. But, I was wrong to have thought I was wrong.

The process of business can seem chaotic at times. Indeed, some have concluded that accepting the condition may be the only hope of success within it; adding that control over the chaos is the only hope in successfully managing it. As former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski revealed: “much of what happens is the product of chaotic conditions and a great deal of personal struggle and ambiguity.” Virtually all of our problems, then, may trace to poor decisions — those made by a process that is poorly understood.

Clearly, managers spend more time making “people decisions” than on anything they do. Most would agree that it is time well spent since people are the single most valuable asset of organizations. They are, however, unique in their ways, quirky, unpredictable, and possessed of more power and grace than most organizations (even they themselves) can use to productive ends. How then do we unlock the power of people to grow our organizations to the level of our aspirations for them, especially when studies show that selection of the right people is, at best, a 30 percent proposition? This may be good for a baseball player, but is the single largest and most uncontrollable cost to growth organizations.

Organizations whose people are productively engaged, and see growth and opportunity in their work, are usually the leaders in their market segment. Somehow, they have found the secret to tapping the energy and productive juices of their people; they have learned to understand them and how they turn to productive ends. Sometimes understanding people is more than an organization is capable of doing in the normal course of business. Few have the talent and internal organization to grow capable people into a majority of its workforce. More expedient and simpler is to transition those that reveal themselves as “holes in the boat.” This too, may seem costly, but increasingly, organizations opt for it as a cost effective methodology. Many of us are aware of General Electric’s practice of vetting the bottom 10 percent of their workforce annually, in favor of higher producers.

In his telling of the success of CrossCheck, Inc, the third largest transactions-guarantee company in the U.S., Tim LaBadie, founder and chairman, confronts the conventional wisdom. Like most entrepreneurs, Mr. LaBadie claims to be different. So, when he started his company he said he wanted to create a home for “strange” people like himself; “people who won’t accept mediocrity, who won’t take no for an answer, who love pushing themselves to the limit, who thrive on change, and who will ‘do windows.’” It is, he continues, “… not a place for everyone. The survival rate is low, the casualty rate is high, and we love it.”

Mr. LaBadie is saying, “ … that there are not many places that CrossCheck people could thrive (tolerate).” Such places were likely to stifle the imaginations and productivity of their people and stunt their growth and enthusiasm for personal achievement. Apparently, it worked for CrossCheck, though most organizations could only have conversations about achieving such a workplace. People, it would appear to some, are worth the trouble.

 

 

 

December 29, 2017 |
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