I’ve observed this phenomenon over the years. A new leader comes in and inevitably some of her direct reports leave. The new leader selects replacements. Then some of the replacements’ direct reports leave. The turnover cascades down through the organization. This post discusses why this happens and what can be done about it.

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“World-class organizations adopt a scientific, validated and objective system to assess their candidates when they are determining whether they can be a fit for the company. They use the instruments to provide a valid data point to assist their decisions, but they still need to make such important decisions themselves.”
-Thomas Wai, at NATAS HRM Seminar 2014

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I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. Bertrice Berry speak at the annual Beryl Conference in Chicago. Pure inspiration! I was struck by her challenge to the individuals in the audience to start a movement – the patient experience movement.

First, she said, “Teach people how to be grateful – gratitude changes the perception of everything.”

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There are a couple of secrets, actually. First, create a “talent bench”, which is a group of external candidates in whom you’re interested, but for whom you don’t have a position today. To create a strong bench you must constantly recruit, whether you have openings or not. The more of these candidates you’ve pre-qualified, the stronger your bench. This requires resources; it costs money. And a surprising number of companies don’t see this as a worthwhile investment.

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Numerous organizations consider it unprofessional for employees to date each other. Some even have rules against it, accompanied by possible disciplinary consequences. I hope my discussion in this post helps you decide what position you’ll take as a leader.

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During the course of your career you’ll sometimes have to speak with someone who aspires to a certain role in your organization even though she doesn’t have the natural talent to perform that role with excellence. What do you say? How do you help her work through this? That’s the topic of this post.

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The other morning, a favorite NPR commentator, Frank Deford, caught my attention as I brushed my teeth. “Hustle.” Hustle? That’s a word my dad had a fondness for. It was distinctive and my brother and I knew exactly what it meant. Hustle. I hadn’t thought about it for years. And despite that, I am aware of it every day. I know what hustle is. I see it in my work associates. I see it in my family. And, I recognize when it’s absent. But until Deford talked about it a few mornings ago in advance of March Madness, I hadn’t consciously thought about it. Deford assured listeners we would see a lot of hustle in the coming weekends. And indeed we have. It’s been an exciting tournament with upsets that have assured Warren Buffet he won’t have to pay out on a perfect bracket. And, despite the fact that the movie “American Hustle” has just been in the theaters with a negative connotation around the word, in sports it’s distinctive. It’s positive. It evokes heart. In the world of business, it’s distinctive as well.

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