In Change, Leaders

“It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.” – Sarah Kay

If we were playing a game of hide and seek with the year 2022, this would be the part where 2022 says, “Ready or not, here I come!”  The way the past couple of years have gone, there are plenty of people who would probably like to stay hidden.  They’re wishing that if they just stayed quiet enough, maybe 2022 would leave them alone.

Of course we can’t stay hidden.  Time keeps rolling on.  Our job as leaders isn’t to stay in a bunker and hope nothing bad happens.  Our job is to go out and try to make something good happen.  With less than a month to go in the year, it’s the perfect time to ask what that good might look like in 2022.

No matter who or where you are, it’s almost a certainty that one of your biggest challenges in the year ahead will be people.  Finding them, developing them, keeping them, etc.  In many places there simply aren’t enough people in the work force to fill the positions we want filled.

That reality is frustrating.  What most organizations traditionally want to do is hire someone to fill an open job, train that someone over a period of time to perform that job well, then put it out of their minds for 30 years until that person retires.  Of course, that’s not the world we’re living in.  People have the ability to change jobs, and in my country they do it every four years.  Slow & steady development combined with once in a generation recruiting is no longer a valid methodology.  We need something new.

First, we have to be recruiting constantly.  We can’t just turn on the people pipeline whenever we have a formal opening.  It’s no different than looking for new customers.  You don’t wait until you desperately need growth to start looking for growth.  It’s a process & it takes time and consistency.  The same thing applies to people.

Second, we have to become fantastic on-boarders.  I hear people say that the new person they hired has the potential to really be great in a few years.  That’s fantastic.  That means that when they leave in a few years they can be great for somebody else.  We can’t prepare our people to be really valuable years down the road.  We need them to be valuable as soon as possible, and that ‘possible’ needs to be months (at most), not years.

Lastly, we need to be incredibly efficient.  If you think your business needs to have thirty employees to function well, then figure out how you can provide just as much value with twenty-five.  Maybe it’s about technology, maybe it’s about removing waste, maybe it’s a combination.  Whatever the case, we have to be as waste-free as possible.

Think about your people situation.  What can you change in 2022?  Spend the next month figuring it out, then hit the ground running.  Good luck.

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