Earlier this year I attended a 2-day conference with Dale Beaumont in Melbourne. Apart from an inspiring couple of days that made me think of at least 100 new business ideas – there was one phrase that really struck a chord with me. He asked “Are you green and growing or are you ripe and rotten?” It was those words that made me sit up and listen. Intently. He continued saying that in life some things are certain – death, taxes and change. Some people like to live comfortably and accept the daily rhythm of routines and knowing what’s ahead by doing the same thing day in, day out. Others like to flick the switch, take action and move forward with fresh ideas to feel continually inspired while growing and learning.
I immediately made the link to retaining top talent and why some companies struggle to keep high performing staff. It’s easy to assume with top performers that all is fine and dandy. They are achieving, secure; earning good money, have work/life balance – why would they leave?
Consider though the nature of the beast – top performers like to be constantly challenged and learning new things. They tend to dislike comfort and become unmotivated with the same tasks, routines and the status quo.
A client told me last week they have identified 30 high potentials in their organisation – great – but now they don’t know what to do with them. They are stretched with resources and there is no capacity for HR to take them on, nor their immediate leaders to coach, mentor and challenge them to greater levels of performance and job satisfaction. This is a major risk – without continually challenging and rewarding these people – they will either become bored, fed up, comfortable or disillusioned. Ultimately they will look elsewhere or they will be head hunted – not for more money, but for greater challenges and opportunities to stretch themselves to be “green and growing”.
A leading engineering firm recently told me one of their engineers who is also a partner, was feeling unfulfilled and considering leaving the firm. Not wanting to lose this person, but still wanting the best result for him professionally and personally, they engaged a business coach to assist him work through his thoughts. The result was very surprising to the HR Director and other partners – he was actually craving challenging work. He could do his job inside out, back to front and upside down – but missed the hands on aspects of design and working with clients on complex projects. Problem solved – he has gone back to taking on 1- 2 major projects and is re-living the ‘buzz’ of what made him love his job in the first place. And in the process – they have retained him.
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? But how many times do we just float along and go about our everyday tasks and wake up years later wondering why we aren’t satisfied? Whereas to an outsider looking in it may be perceived “we have it all”.
Going back to your core and working out what gives you the buzz, the butterflies, the energy that makes you think “I love my job!” and “I had a great day today!” may involve re-assessing your strengths and what you love to do most vs. what you have just ended up doing through promotion, circumstance or business needs.
To truly perform, feel satisfied and achieve success, may actually mean putting yourself out there again, making a change and getting outside your comfort zone. So what are you going to do? Stay on the vine or push yourself onward and upward?