Scott McKain “Seven Biggest Lies in Business” this is #3 Management

Biggest Lies in Business : #3

Time for the third in our series of the "Seven Biggest Lies in Business" – our ongoing series here in the UCE-zine — moving you to enhance and alter your perceptions of what is true…and what isn't…in today's dynamically changing business world.

This one applies if you are an entrepreneur, executive, HR official, or manager of any type:

Lie #3: We Cannot Keep/Get Good People

Of course you can. You just haven't been willing to engage in the kind of organizational or personal behavior that secures it.

Imagine for a moment that you are Dr. Bob Brockelman, driving a snowy road on a Midwestern winter's day to a university campus to recruit prospective employees to work with you at your $110 BILLION company.

That may sound like it is no problem if you're running a hip and progressive high-tech company, working to hire all the good people you can acquire. That is, until you realize that Dr. Brockelman's company – competing for top talent against the GE's and Microsoft's of the world – is the Farm Credit Bank of Wichita, Kansas. You are asking soon-to-be college or business school graduates to forego the offer from Proctor & Gamble and instead head to Hastings, Nebraska to begin your career.

"The silly thing," says Dr. Brockelman, "is that it's really pretty easy. The problem for most companies is that they've told each other this lie that it's impossible to get and keep great people for so long that they simply aren't doing what it takes to make it happen."

In fact, they are so good at it, Brockelman and Farm Credit Bank of Wichita have reduced turnover to a miniscule (and unheard-of) 3%. Within this lie, "We Cannot Get/Keep Good People," are three erroneous assumptions many of us make —

1) "Money is the only motivator of employees"

There's a major problem with believing this: Every major study proves it isn't the case. Employees want to be paid comparably with those in similar work situations. However, this belief is a mere cop-out by those managers unwilling to confront other motivators. It's easier for us to believe we aren't getting what we want from our employees because we aren't paying them well enough – as opposed to thinking it might be because we aren't managing them well enough.

2) "The (fill in this blank with any age group except the one to which you belong) Generation has no loyalty and a horrible work ethic."

Wrong. However, different generations have different standards of loyalty and differing responses to varied leadership styles. You just have to learn how to appeal to the loyalty of the different generations and what motivates each generational group. If you need more on this topic, check out information from my friend and colleague, Eric Chester, CSP.

3) "We just train them and then they go work for someone else."

There are two problems with this statement:

a. First, why should they stay if all your organization is providing is training — and not opportunity after the training has concluded? Education that precedes a lack of opportunity to apply what is learned breeds frustration.
b. Second, the most terrible approach isn't training them and they leave – as my good friend, Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE says, the worst thing is to NOT train them and they STAY!

"Nearly 100 percent of the top-performing key people have the souls of entrepreneurs."
Brian Whitlock, "Modern Machine Shop", January 2006

It is NOT impossible to acquire and retain good people. The fundamental problem is that managers are better trained and emotionally equipped to make investments in R&D, capital improvements and better operating procedures instead of people.

What will YOU do so that you obtain and retain your best people – so they can help you create Ultimate Customer Experiences?

Scott McKain