Tuesday, November 18, 2014

“Organizational Dilemmas – Talent Management and Talent Retention” - Professor M.S.Rao

“A fellow of mediocre talent will remain a mediocrity, whether he travels or not; but one of superior talent (which without impiety I cannot deny that I possess) will go to seed if he always remains in the same place.” - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Recently I was invited by an educational institution in India as a guest speaker. After delivering my speech, I met the principal of the educational institution. During the conversation, the principal told me, “The right talent doesn’t come to our college. Even if it comes, it doesn’t stay. Even if it stays, people will not allow it to stay in the college.” I found strength in his statement and hence, I decided to share my thoughts on this topic. .

These are the days of knowledge workers where a lot of respect is accorded to knowledge workers. You can buy machines, not knowledge workers. These knowledge workers come if they wish to come. They are choosy as they have abundant opportunities elsewhere.  They shortlist their employers rather than the employers short listing them. Hence, before joining any organization, they look for various aspects including career prospects. If they are convinced that their work is challenging, and the learning curve and career growth is steep, they join the organization. After joining the organization, if they find any mismatch between their expectations and the reality, they resign and join elsewhere. If they find any job irritants, they immediately resign.

After joining the organization, if they are convinced about career prospects, they continue to work. Here comes another challenge as the people who are already available in the organization may find the new talent a threat. They may feel insecure. Hence, they play petty politics to remove the talent. This is the challenge where most of the knowledge workers and high achievers encounter in organizations. At times, this top talent is dragged into controversies by the existing talent leading to exit of the top talent.

Here goes the story of Ron who worked in an educational institution. Ron was a passionate educator who had passion to share his knowledge and serve students. He had an international profile with amazing employment offers with pay and perks. He sacrificed everything and joined an educational institution to serve students with insignificant salary as the institution had a huge number of students. It provided an opportunity for Ron to reach out more students to serve them. The owners of the educational institution immediately offered employment to him, and were happy that such a high profile educator agreed to join their institution. After joining the institution, problems started for Ron as most of the educators found insecure with Ron’s international image. Ron conducted teaching and training programs to students and inspired them. As a result, many students became his followers. Students were very much impressed with Ron’s international image. The other educators felt uncomfortable with Ron’s growing image and following among the students. They started to find out Ron’s minor weaknesses and complained to the owners of the educational institution. The owners were aware about the issue but they were not willing to remove Ron. Ron sensed the problem and finally resigned to avoid problems to the owners of the management and other mediocre educators in the institution. The owners did not accept Ron’s resignation. Finally, Ron persuaded the owners that he would visit their institution as a guest speaker whenever required rather than to work as a fulltime faculty. It ended up as a win-win for all stakeholders. 

From this story, it is obvious that the top talent doesn’t come to organizations. Even if they come, they don’t stick to the organization for a longer time. Even if they stick to their organizations, they are not allowed to remain within the organizations due to petty politics.  This challenge arises for knowledge workers and especially for the employees with international image when they join medium and low profile organizations.

To conclude, strong people mind their own business while the weak people play petty office politics to ensure their survival. It is for the organizations to hire the best talent and ensure that they are protected from organizational politics to ensure organizational excellence and effectiveness.

“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” - Lou Holtz

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL: http://www.amazon.com/21-Success-Sutras-Leaders-ebook/dp/B00AK98ELI

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