If You Grow Them They Will Leave

You invest your precious time.  Your resources are spent.  You suffer through their learning curve.  And then as they grow into the amazing team member you always knew they were capable of being…

…they move on down the trail to another company.

You are crushed.  At some level you feel betrayed.  Where’s the loyalty?  What a complete waste of time.

”Boy, I never thought that Benedict would do this to me.”

Have you ever felt this way?  I know I have.  But I was wrong…and you were too.

My thinking evolved on this issue over time.  Developing employees is not solely for the purpose of enhancing the organization.  It’s also an employee benefit.

Fear and Opportunity

If you had a choice between two jobs and only one of them offered you the opportunity to advance your skills or interests in some way…

….which one would you pick?

The answer is so obvious it’s not even worth asking.  And it’s key to attracting new talent.  So you make it clear that being on your team affords one the opportunity to grow.  THAT, however, does not come with some sort of loyalty pledge.  And frankly it shouldn’t.

I like to say that promotion happens when preparedness meets opportunity.  Those two stars have to line up.  One cannot guarantee opportunity normally.  One CAN guarantee development, however.

So both leaders and team members should be equally invested in the development process.  Leaders because filling open positions is far easier with a pool of developing talent.  Team members because they want to improve upon their station in life.

And so, when that day comes and it’s time to let go of a good one…

…you are ready to fill the vacuum with another good one.

If you’ve done your job the departed is moving into a position they weren’t ready for when they first came to you.  And, if you are right about them being a “good one” they are delivering a great message to their new team about the efficacy of you and your organization.

That can yield opportunities for future “good ones” that are difficult to measure directly and would be hard to put a price on even if you could.

Make sure you applaud their work as they move on to their next challenge.  They deserve it…

…and you just never know where their trail or yours leads next.

(This post was inspired by Ms. Ashley Agent, a “good one’ that got away, who recently reminded me of the importance of developing your team.)

 

KenCatmull.com

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