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Supporting career growth for your staff

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Excitement of the New and Unknown

Supporting career growth for your staff

Supporting career growth for your staff.

Food for Thought is our way of sharing interesting concepts on corporate leadership and management with others who might find it useful. The thoughts offered are intended to be controversial and thought provoking. They always follow our motto of helping develop logical leadership. This article is, in part, a farewell to Gwen Hickmond, a forward look at the new person we will be hiring to replace Gwen, and a reiteration of a leadership tool called Personal Assets and Liabilities.

We have written on related topics in the past, for example, see Time to Prepare Three Envelopes.

Many of you know Gwen Hickmond, who was with LogiStyle for 2 ½ years. You might have met her at one of our workshops or spoken to her on the phone. She has moved on to her next rung in her career, a wonderful marketing opportunity with JBA Consulting Engineers. With this Food for Thought article, we celebrate her move to the next chapter of her career and wish her success. Our excitement and joy probably needs explanation. Why is an employer happy to see their employee move on to the next job?

At LogiStyle, we hire recent college graduates, usually with little or no work experience, offer them a great opportunity to learn about marketing, event planning and leadership, and give them an opportunity to interact with accomplished corporate executives and CEOs at our workshops. While it is a great job for a recent college graduate, there is little growth opportunity within our small company.

So we tell them at the time of hiring that this job is good for about three years. They should use it as a stepping stone for their next career move. We help them through that process by forcing the conversation at each of their monthly, 1-1 meetings with me. From day 1 on the job, they are required to articulate their career interests, do research on where and how they could fulfill those aspirations, take active steps to explore those possibilities, and in two to three years settle on the right opportunity and move forward. In our short history of six years, Stefanie Call, Emily Meath and Courtney Brinkhoff have moved on. Now, it is Gwen Hickmond’s turn.

Interestingly enough, Gwen was recruited by one of our clients. Dwayne Miller, CEO of JBA Consulting Engineers, had met Gwen and spent three days with her at one of our L3 workshops, where Gwen was responsible for the entire event – the selection of the location, the negotiation with the hotel to draft a contract, the marketing of the event, registration of participants, all of the arrangements for the event, and orchestration of the event on-site. When Dwayne heard of our transition policy, he asked us if he could consider her for a position in his company. Then in the most professional way, he handed over the opportunity to one of his managers, who had an open position and let that manager consider Gwen on his own terms.

Of course, we celebrate Gwen’s transition with mixed emotions. Gwen contributed greatly to LogiStyle. She was very comfortable here. The staff referred to her as the Boss, since I was always traveling and seldom in the office. But imagine Gwen’s excitement – and, discomfort – this week, starting a new job. Everything is new and different. Nothing is familiar. A great opportunity in front of her. How she presents herself, deals with situations, interacts with people, etc., in the next six months, will shape her capacity to influence and contribute in this new position. She is probably excited and she is probably nervous. There is excitement in the new and unknown. There is power in that excitement.Ask yourself how many of your employees have that excitement they had in their first six months.

Chances are you are listing the employees that joined in the last six months. What are you doing to maintain that excitement? What are you doing to keep them from getting comfortable? Is being comfortable in a job a good thing? Or, does it lead to complacency and stagnation? Would you rather have somebody still growing into the job or would you prefer somebody who already knows everything about the job? In which situation is more value being created, for the employer and the employee, both individually and collectively? How comfortable are your employees?

We have maintained that when an employee leaves a company and returns after a few years, the success of that re-hire is likely to be less than if you had made a brand new hire. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as admitted in that article. One of the drawbacks of a returning hire is that they don’t have that same sense of excitement. They are likely to be more comfortable than a brand new hire. You want your new employee to have that sense of excitement and discomfort.

We will soon be hiring a new employee to replace Gwen. We are looking forward to the excitement, ideas, enthusiasm, and untainted perspective that this new person will bring us. Is that worth the cost of training the new person into the new job? Absolutely!

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