Keeping Your Best and Brightest, Part II - Page 2

Apr 13, 2005

Joe Santana

Know your people wholly and engage them wholly. Match talent and passion as closely as possible to the tasks.

This can be done one of two ways. One way is to observe what your people do extremely well and place them in assignments that make the best use of these natural gifts. Another is to allow enough flexibility in how your team members perform their jobs, so as to enable them to engage their unique talents in attaining the target results.

Provide all your team members with training on how to manage their time and maximize their efforts. In this way you can reduce stress (what's in it for them) and increase productivity (what's it is for you). For example a simple course on how to read and write emails effectively can do much to increase your productivity and lower your team's frustration.

Email as we all know, while a fabulous tool when used correctly, is commonly one of the corporate worlds biggest time waster. How many hours have you spent trying to make sense of a poorly written email with a ten-page list of sub-message attachments?

Provide training and development that benefits the individual as well as the company. Knowing why its good for the company is not enough in an economy where layoffs and moves are common.

Also remember that people are always at a higher level of attention when there is a clear opportunity for personal gain derived from the investment of their time and attention.

Tap into the power of connecting people with their peers. By providing transparency and a free flow of information, you will tap more fully and richly into your people's talents as well as the talents of all the other people with whom they network.

This will also get your people working better vertically as well as horizontally instead of operating is a slow bureaucratic up and down the chain of command fashion.

Some of the ways you can start doing this right away include the following:

  • Start your team blogging. Blog software can be obtain as freeware or at a very low-price. Organizations, such as Google, have found it extremely valuable in getting people sharing peer-to-peer.
  • Encourage and support your people in networking through online communities like Ryze or Linkin.

    This enables them to tap into a huge global network of contacts and resources that can enrich their perspectives and skills, which they in turn will bring back to your team. (For more on an IT Professional Global Association, I invite you to visit my IT Pro network on Ryze.)

  • Implement effective and end-user valuable and friendly Knowledge Management tools.
  • When you talk to your team always communicate what success means to them in terms of the things they value (e.g., money, training, recognition, etc). One of the most frustrating things people tell me they endure is sitting through an hour long meeting where management presents how great the company is doing and its plans for becoming even bigger and richer without interpreting what this means to them.

    Many managers will look at this and say, "That's silly. They are smart enough to see that the firm's growth represents more opportunities for them."

    Well, first of all, we all know that this is not always the case. Second, how many of these same managers who participate in a client meeting would fail to tell their prospect what the company's capabilities mean in terms of service to them the client? I would dare say none. Why? Because, we all know how important it is to spell out and state the benefit (what's in it for them) to our clients.

    If you want to get and keep the best people, treat them as your clients. You must continuously sell them on why they are getting the best return on their talent and time from your company and your team.

    Joe Santana is an IT organizational development specialist and thought-leader and co-author of "Manage IT." He can be reached at or via his Web site

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