83 Chapters
Medium 9781609940935

Study the Best

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Debbie was discouraged. Her new team was proving to be more of a challenge than she had bargained for. Up to this point in her career, she had enjoyed success after success. Most noteworthy, she had led her previous dysfunctional team “from worst to first.” This feat had not gone unnoticed by management. In fact, Jeff, the CEO, had given Debbie her recent promotion in part due to her success and in part because he saw tremendous potential in her.

However, in her new role, nothing seemed to be going her way. With her former team, she had looked forward to every new day, but now she went to work only to be confronted by a team with real issues. Not only that, Debbie was feeling the stress and strain of trying to do more and more, often with less resources. Beyond her team issues, she was faced with a growing mountain of e-mail; there seemed to be more meetings than ever; and if there was any time left, she still had customers to serve. She was tired. The pace of her life was out of control, and she wasn’t sure what to do about it.

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Medium 9781523094974

Panning for Gold

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Charles and Blake were meeting weekly to discuss their talent crisis. Blake knew from experience: focused leadership energy creates impact. Besides, this was his organization’s most pressing issue. Where else would he want to invest his time?

“Good morning,” Blake said. “Any updates or insights?”

“I’ve been thinking about how to move this work along as quickly as possible, and because we’re both huge fans of benchmarking, I think we should visit a few companies known for having outstanding people. Maybe we can learn from their experience. If we can discover some tactics that have helped them attract Top Talent, it could accelerate our efforts.”

“I can support that. You find them, and we’ll visit them.” Blake said.

After some research, Charles’s team found several organizations who had solid reputations for outstanding people. Each company they contacted agreed to allow a visit.

Blake and Charles were set to make their first visit with Clare Fremont, the chief people officer of a midsized company with a predominately hourly workforce.

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Medium 9781609949600

I Can Change This

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Blake left the meeting with the coach with a new spirit. He knew that he didn’t control his future but no longer felt like a victim. His outlook was different—his actions were within his control. Blake’s confidence in himself and his future had risen. Not that anything he’d learned would be a revelation to Debbie, but he wanted to share his insight with her. Their next meeting was still a few weeks away but Blake decided to call her anyway. He picked up the phone.

“Hi, Debbie, I just had a fantastic meeting with Coach Bradley. I’d love to tell you about it. I know we’ve got a meeting scheduled; any chance we can meet sooner?”

Blake was glad Debbie was available to meet the next morning. After he hung up the phone, he remembered that he was supposed to buy dinner for the family. He stopped by Megan’s favorite Chinese restaurant on the way home. He called to let her know he was on the way.

“I’ll be home soon. I’m can’t wait to share what I learned from the coach this afternoon. I love you!”

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Medium 9781523094974

Top Talent

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Monday morning, Blake called a meeting with the leaders from Human Resources.

“In our last meeting, you brought to my attention your concern and our challenge in finding enough qualified candidates to meet our growth projections. How are we doing on that front?” Blake asked.

Charles, the head of HR, spoke for the group. “Well, since it’s only been two days since we met, the situation really hasn’t changed much. We have continued to run the play. We’re planning to attend a job fair this week, checking our online sources, and we did call a couple of professional recruiters.”

“‘Running the play’ has run its course. It’s not working. We need to call a new play,” Blake said firmly.

“Do you have a new play in mind?” Charles asked.

“I think we need to go back to the drawing board and ask some different questions. Here are a few to get you started. . . .

“What is our people strategy? Who is our target employee? How would you describe him or her? I’ve heard you use the term ‘Top Talent.’ I’m fine with the term—let’s just be sure we all agree on what it means.

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Medium 9781609949600

It’s Not About You

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When Blake got to his office, he already had an email from Debbie with the names of the men and women in his father’s former group. Judging from their titles alone, it looked like an eclectic group—a CEO, a judge, the leader of a large nonprofit, a high school football coach, and a school superintendent.

Blake started making calls and scheduling meetings. He was delighted that everyone he called seemed genuinely interested in meeting with him.

His first meeting was in about a week.

• • •

Monday morning at 7:00, Blake found himself standing on the curb in front of an old building in the heart of the city. He was not alone; a couple of dozen other people waited for the doors to open as well. As Blake looked at his watch, he had a sense that no one else in the group was concerned about the time. Although he was attempting not to be judgmental, he assumed, based on their appearance, that his companions on the curb were all homeless. The crowd had gathered at Heaven’s Kitchen, a nonprofit organization started by Chad Culpepper. Chad was the youngest member of his dad’s small group. He had joined right out of college.

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