A new warden at a jail discovered that he took over a facility with an annual turnover rate of more than 100%. Knowing the importance of retaining staff, the costly consequences of turnover, and the need to provide consistent oversight of the inmates in his charge, the warden was determined to reduce turnover. To his credit, within just a couple years, the warden decreased the facility turnover from more than 100% to around 13%. By industry standards, his accomplishment was nothing short of incredible, but what happened as a result of this feat of success wasn’t as wonderful.
In a small Tennessee town is a road with several signs that read “In honor of ______ veterans.” Each sign designates a different branch of the US Armed Services. The implication is that from one sign to the next, the roadway past the sign is dedicated in honor of veterans who served in that particular branch of the service. The idea is commendable, honorable even – if the road conditions matched the perceived honor the signs intended to convey. Instead, the road is bumpy, part of it follows a sharp curve, trees are low hanging over the roadway, and the aesthetic of the road and surrounding area leaves something less than honorable in the minds of those driving by.
You probably worked with or work with someone who is always the expert at whatever you’re talking about or the more accomplished in the experience you undertook. Regardless of who they are, he or she is the person you think is most disliked person in your life. Surprisingly, people actually hate someone even more than the braggart.
You already know that people don’t quit jobs; they quit people. What makes people want to leave a boss might surprise you though.
Do you remember learning about the American revolution in grade school? I remember hearing stories about tea thrown into the water, a guy riding through town on a horse yelling, and some guy’s signature was a big deal. The idea of American independence from England was subject matter I learned in school. Growing up, I often wondered why we still made such a big deal out of it since we are so far removed from foreign rule.
Pull up most social media, news, or blog sites, and you’ll find that people are mean to each other. How is it possible that we treat each other this way, and what does it mean for you as a leader?
Ask any financial planner, and they’ll tell you that they can see what is important to their clients just by looking at where they spend their money. People tend to focus their resources on what matters most to them – do we do the same for the culture we want to have in our organizations?
Social media provides plenty of fodder for blogger intros and pastoral sermon illustrations. I was reading someone’s posts a while ago in response to a police officer who froze up on the job. The writer commented that if they were faced with that situation, their response would be too quick and decisive to give them the chance to freeze up. Sometime later, that person was faced with a real-life situation where they did exactly what most people without training for such situations do – they ducked for cover and stayed hidden until the danger was gone.
Ask any patient leaving a hospital who was most instrumental in helping them heal and recover, and they’ll likely tell you it was the nurses.
You’ve probably heard someone change the tone of their voice and say, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” It’s an oft-quoted line from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke. It’s a mood lightening way people will acknowledge that a breakdown in communication has occurred.