Losing Talent: Go Ahead, Tell Yourself It’s Mutual (Guest Post)

Today’s post is a guest piece from Dr. Marla Gottschalk.  It is of particular interest because it takes my Fundamental Principle 7 (that there are clueless people) and moves it up to include organizations.  This affirmation is something I was working my way up to in laying a broad foundation over the last couple of years.  That foundation includes Fundamental Principle 15 (that Everyone Has Baggage, including organizations), which leads to the conundrum that Dr. Gottschalk mentions.  Both of these issues are tightly coupled with culture, and because there is much current discussion about organizational cultures and how to improve them, including the publication of my brother’s new book, The Culture Engine, it seemed a good time to use Dr. Gottschalk’s post to segue into developing thoughts on the broader aspects and influence of culture, not just the organizational kind.  So, without further ado, here is Dr. Gottschalk’s affirming and empowering post.


I recently published a post at Linkedin entitled, How Not to Manage a High Performer. In the article, I discuss all of the ways we, as managers and organizations as a whole, shoot ourselves in the foot where top talent is concerned. We rely too heavily on their collected experience with mindless routine tasks and essentially drain them dry. We fail to offer them challenge. We forget to say thanks, for a job truly well done.

The employee-employer relationship may have started out on the right foot — and good intentions were plentiful. However, as time marches on, the real story emerges. We drop the proverbial “ball”. Then the inevitable moment finally occurs, and your high performer makes the decision to move on. We’ve pushed their hand in many cases, and in truth we are limiting their careers.

We’d like to tell ourselves that the feeling is “mutual” — that, as organizations we did all we could. They’ve “outgrown us” or were “hard to please”. However, that’s a lie. Organizations find themselves on the wrong side of that argument each and every day.

The decision to leave is really not mutual — and organizations lose out for a number of reasons. Most of which are well-known and preventable.

I say hooray for talent. Move on. Jump off. Find an organization that is willing to take a moment to learn who you are and what you need to excel. I’ve seen talented, good-hearted, motivated employees suffer at the hand of a completely clueless organization — yet thrive at another. That conundrum is on organizations to solve.

So tell yourself it’s mutual — and that the next employee is simply one click (through ATS) away. Go right ahead.

But, it’s not.

You lose.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is the Director of Thought Leadership at Kilberry Leadership Advisors, Toronto. She is also serves as an Influencer at LinkedIn.  Connect with her at @MRGottschalk. 

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About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 07: Getting It, 15: Baggage, Career and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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