management development

Turnover is Tricky


Winning over your retained team is an essential task.  And sometimes that's not enough.

A professional services firm’s senior leadership team recently decided they needed to “raise the bar” and address both under-performance and disruptive behavior.  The results: 1) involuntary turnover of 25% of the team; 2) brutal Glassdoor reviews; 3) upset clients.
Hired to identify ideas to bolster employee retention and engagement, we’ve partnered with our client on three key areas to get them back on track—fast.

  1. Add precision and rigor to the interview and selection process. We’ve prepared interviewers to assess both technical aptitude and culture fit. Make good decisions at the outset- it pays dividends.

  2. Build management acumen, especially feedback skills. It turned out most of their messages about poor performance or unprofessionalism had been clear as mud. We want their team to know where they stand, and not be fearful they're "next".

  3. Rebuild trust within the organization, creating clarity and a more solutions-focused organization, with an aligned senior leadership team.

When your competitive advantage is the strong relationships you’ve built with clients/ customers, reliability and dependability is essential.  High turnover has a high cost, and it’s avoidable with management expertise and alignment.  


Build a Strategic Engine for Growth


When your HR team gets your business, your business grows.

Wish your HR team delivered more value to your business? Then involve them in it. Too often the HR department is side-lined by pet projects, under-represented in the boardroom, or referred to as the department of "no."

Building strategic HR muscle and encouraging an advisory approach is a smart business decision, ensuring the dollars spent are directly aligned with business needs, and addressing your biggest investment- your people.

Here are 3 compelling business reasons my clients make the leap:

  1. Business line leaders can focus on profit when HR leaders focus on people. With business line insight and access, HR can proactively help your leaders recruit, build and develop a high performing team.   

  2. Trusted HR partnerships enable more business line agility.  For example, when it's time for a reorganization, you can act swiftly knowing you have a strong HR support system in place.

  3. HR becomes solution-oriented, innovating programs or initiatives to solve existing talent concerns or opportunities.  These HR pros understand how best to prioritize initiatives and resources to propel the business line forward.

I often hear from CEOs that their HR team “isn’t strategic” and doesn’t seem capable to make the pivot toward a strategic advisor role, but that is seldom the case. More often than not, I find that HR has been left out of the critical conversations around corporate growth strategy, key metrics, and priorities. And too, they need skill-building to engage in those crucial conversations.

The best approach is to not replace your current HR team with new people, but to teach them the new skills required for their new role in today’s business environment. The hard work is worth the payoff!


Learning Leadership


I remember when I was first promoted into a managerial role in a fairly large company.  I was suddenly the “boss”. My friends now worked for me.  

And I had no idea how to act like one.

I was filled with anxiety and questions.

How can I be the manager and preserve my friendships with my friends

How should I give feedback to a friend?

How do I hire people to complement the team?

How often do I need to meet with my team, and seriously, why do we need to have meetings?

… and so on.

It took me a few months, but I finally fessed up- admitted that I had no idea what I was doing and wondered if there was a book I could reference.

The response I received was memorable, “We learn by doing.  Sometimes you’ll make mistakes, other times you won’t.  You’ll learn.”

Yes, true-- I did learn over time.  A long time.  Though I wish that someone would have explained to me that while I was “learning”, my team was watching and I was losing impact and influence.

I love to golf, but I’m seriously lousy at it.  I tried to get better by going to the driving range-- I’m still lousy.  Then I realize, if you keep trying the same thing over and over again, without learning to do it right- don’t expect to get better.

Same thing applies for leading others.  You can keep practicing and just doing what you’re doing.  But you may learn the wrong things, or be unprepared when circumstances change.

Especially in a small company, it pays enormous dividends to pause, reflect, and intentionally lead.  

Maybe you’ve started a company and are now surrounded by other people who are making your dream a reality. Or you’ve joined a small and promising company, and are the “manager”-- getting work done through others during dynamic times.

So you’re the boss, now what do you do?

Leading others is a learned skill.  None of us pop out into the universe prepared to lead others.  

Leaders in small companies should take the time to learn by practice.  Learn the art of leading from others who have been there before you.

Find mentors.  Build a “personal board of directors”-- people outside of your company who have been there before and can give you candid and useful helpful in a safe way.  And seek out opportunities to learn in a safe “practice zone”.

Whether you realize it or not, in a leadership position you have a great deal of influence.  What you do with that influence is up to you.  You can choose to ignore it and hope that your planned stellar results speak for themselves, or you can choose to embrace the opportunity and prepare for it like it’s the challenge it is!


To learn more about how to ignite your leaders, visit our Management Development Program.