Winning Words

Opinion: How we manage change impacts retention of the best

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Welcome back to part three of this five-part series on “The 5 C’s of Retaining Top Talent.” In week one we discussed the importance of connecting with our team members, and last week we added a discussion around collaboration. Recognizing that everyone on our team, including our top performers, wants to be part of the creative and strategic thinking that will lead to personal and professional success.

Next up is the role of change and how managing change can make or break us when it comes to attracting, hiring, developing, and retaining top performers.

As I prepared for this series, I had time to spend a few hours on my favorite beach. A beach I knew growing up, and a beach I visited often even after moving to Colorado. And as I walked along the shoreline, I thought about how much I have seen the beach change over the years. And although it changes with every storm, wind gust, and tide, it is still the beach.

Superstorm Sandy back in 2012 leveled most of the homes along this stretch of beach. Most of which have been rebuilt, even more beautifully than before. Dredging and relocating sand has also played a role in the protection of the beach from the erosion that comes along with the storms, winds, and tides.

The beach endures the changes that the storms, winds, and tides throw its way. This is similar to our businesses in a way. Businesses today face storms, winds, and tides too. They come in the form of shifts in the economy, an unexpected pandemic, innovation and technology advancements, societal pressures, and a volatile political landscape. As we think about attracting, hiring, developing, and retaining current and future top performers, we must acknowledge that how we manage change, will directly impact how we hire, who we hire, and how long they stay with us as a part of our team.

Join me back on the beach for a moment. As I walked along the shoreline, I walked with others combing the beach for pristine shells, sea glass, and other treasures that the new tide had washed ashore. I watched as people would pick up a shell, look at it and determine to keep it or toss it back. That made me think of the top talent that is out there looking to join a winning team and growing company. Just like the walk along the beach, there are many people trying to find those top performers, those potential new team members that can make such a huge difference for our business.

Our job as leaders and coworkers is to walk the beach as often as we can. To look for not only the best and the brightest, but to also see what is broken, what needs change, or what change needs to be managed differently. Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman used the phrase, “Management by wandering around,” in their book, “In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies.” It means we purposely walk the beaches of our business looking for opportunities to recognize people, make changes, and learn what is most important about the way we manage change and lead our business.

Is this a case for “Change Management?” In a way, yes. But “Change Management” will be limited in its success if we fail to first identify what needs to change and then include a change readiness and communications strategy. When we lack connection, overlook collaboration, and then mismanage change, others will easily come by and pick up the best and brightest as they walk along the shoreline looking for top talent for their own organization.

The storms, winds, and tides will certainly shape our business, they will cause us to change, and change for the better. Are you ready to manage those changes? I would love to hear your story at mnorton@tramazing.com, and when we can change with the tide, avoid erosion, and keep our best and brightest, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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