Many people want to know what the biggest challenges are that my clients are facing or that organizations are facing?
Today I am going to share with you the three challenges that 80% of my clients experience and I will share with you some tips and best practices that I have used to resolve these challenges for the clients.
The number one challenge that organizations and clients are facing right now is attracting and keeping good people. A survey in the US Conference Board in 2010 said that the average employee today, post recession, is looking for work elsewhere. Think about the impact of that on your organization. Do you really know if the people you have right now will stay with you and your organization?
I repeat- the number one challenge that organizations are facing right now is attracting and retaining good people. We know that people are the key to our business succeeding and many times as leaders we focus on the great people we have and we provide lots of energy and time for them but I would like to challenge you and ask are you looking at bringing some of your adequate people up to great?
The second challenge that organizations are facing right now is equalizing technological knowledge among their teams. A client of mine recently integrated new technology into their organization and they had a strategy and a timeline and a project implementation plan to get everyone on board with the technology but what they did not approach or tackle was the psychological resistance of some of the team members to adapting to the next technology. I see this happening in many organizations and I see it as a future threat. This is a big challenge for many organizations right now the equalizing of technological knowledge.
The third challenge that I see with organizations is aligning their teams to focus on innovation and growth. Often times there are a few people that are very excited and clear on the strategy and the growth. What needs to happen in order to move forward is a unified vision of all team members to the strategies moving forward. I call this “pocket performance.” There are pockets of people performing at the levels expected but there is not a unified or gathered aligned team focusing on moving forward.
These are the three biggest challenges and I would dare say threats to an organization’s future success. So here are three tips and solutions that I have worked with my clients over the years that continue to work and resolve and build growth from these challenges.
The number one solution is to have leaders who understand the different perspectives regarding the people they have, that they are attracting and want to retain. We are in a time where you probably have heard of generational differences and Generation X and Y and the baby boomers. What is happening is there is a change or a shift happening around where people want to work and how long they want to work there for. Research shows that the average younger person today or a Gen Y will only stay with their employer for three years. Now think about the ramifications of that to your organization. It means two things. It means number one, we have to get to a place of accepting that there are no longer streamlined attitudes around getting a job and staying there for life and that is the new reality of this new time that we are in. If we understand the different perspectives then when we are attracting we can look at what they are looking for in regards to a career path. For many small organizations there are limited career paths available and then we have to look at what else would cause a high performing employee to want to stay. Questions such as” if I can’t promote them or if I can’t provide them with a career path or if we can’t put them on a succession plan what can we offer?” need to be asked and answered.
One answer to that is Generation X and Y are looking for you helping them to expand their knowledge whether it supports the growth of your organization or whether you are supporting the individual to be successful beyond your organization. The best leaders I have ever worked with and coached recognize that the more they build other people to high levels of success, whether that means they keep them or they move on to something else, the more they themselves as a leader can continue to replicate the ability to build great people. This is a skill that needs to be developed – the skills of recognizing people, where they are, their different perspectives, and developing them to grow. I can tell you that in all my research that Generation X and Y are looking for leaders who are willing to help them grow. Old style leadership we used to say you know, “Let them sink or swim.” It doesn’t work any more. Employees today are saying, “Help me succeed. Help me grow.” They are attracted to organizations where they know that there is a culture of growth and they are willing to stay with leaders and organizations where they are focused on employee growth.
The second solution and this is really a strategy that helps with the retention piece is training good people to be great people and helping your great people to exceed in their abilities to be excellent people. Again, you can see that the trend here is on growing people, helping them grow. So the second strategy that overcomes the challenge of equalizing knowledge, whether it is technological knowledge or it is people skill knowledge or it is leadership skills, the key component is developing training that consistently is focused on growing people and moving people from good to great and from moving people from great to excellent and helping the organization move forward based on a growing people perspective.
The third solution is leveraging the intelligence within the organization. So, for instance, one of the organizations I have worked with, have been my client for a number of years, very progressive – the CEO has created a CEO mastermind. In order for people to be involved in the CEO mastermind they must be performing at a certain level of performance and they get to then spend time with the CEO in a group environment where they ask questions, they are asked for their input by the CEO, they are allowed to brainstorm ideas and you can only imagine what that does for innovation, what it does for the esteem of the leaders participating in the CEO mastermind. It has worked very, very well in this organization. In addition to that is having ongoing leadership gatherings, leadership focused retreats where you are focusing on strategies around growing people and the previous two items that I discussed.
The third piece of number three is peer mentoring. Some of the organizations that I have worked with have done a very, very successful job of peer mentoring where if you have an established employee who has been with your organization for a long time and they have a vast reservoir of knowledge around the history of the organization, best practices, proven strategies that particular person then mentors perhaps a younger person who has been attracted to the organization and gives them input on navigating strategy, the structure of the organization, but in addition to that and this is quite innovative and the organizations that I am coaching and consulting with that are doing this are noticing huge changes in the way their teams interact and that is where it is reverse mentoring. That is having a Generation Y or a younger person mentor someone who has been in the organization for a long time and the Gen Y helps them with technology, gives them insight on new technologies that can help them do their jobs easier, faster, better.
These are the three biggest challenges and the three solutions that I have seen clients face today. Interestingly enough organizations who focus on attracting and keeping good people, who focus on equalizing technological knowledge, who focus on aligning their teams to focus on innovation and growth are growing exponentially and will do so beyond.