Management Professionals
Personal Message from Anne Warfield

Burnout is the top factor I see in companies that have recently gone through significant growth, rapid turn around or mergers/acquisitions. Rarely do I see companies prepare every leader's BRAIN for what is coming.

Below you are going to see how to focus on keeping and recruiting your top talent. So here I want to focus on something else- YOU. As a leader, you need to take care of your most precious asset--your brain. You are elevated to the position you have, not because of just what you can do, but rather they are betting on how you think. This thinking is what they believe will help the company grow as you will know what to do regardless of whether you have faced the problem in front of you before or not.

So, during times of high stress, the following will help your brain remain focused and calm:

1. Take more, short frequent breaks.
This allows your front cortex to empty out and prepare for new information to come in.

2. Keep up a relaxing "routine" for your brain.
This can be listening to music, reading, running, working out, biking, walking, gardening--it is doing something that doesn't require heavy use of your front cortex but that does tap in to your unconscious brain. Your unconscious brain is your highly creative side.

3. Bring small healthy snacks to work.
During high periods of stress the brain craves TWO things--oxygen and sugar. If you don't watch it, it will be easy to gain weight and become more sluggish during periods of high intensity.

4. Step out of your comfort zone.
Doing something unknown creates both a natural high and a natural nervousness for our system. By taking some risks, outside of work during high stress times, your brain gets more comfortable being in the "unknown". Therefore, it doesn't become as daunted by working in the grey waters of new territories.

The worst thing you can do during high stress times is to strap in and eat lunch at your desk. That is like boxing yourself in your bedroom but expecting yourself to come out of it highly energized and creative. Instead you become stale and burnt out.

PS If you want to find out how to think and speak holistically and strategically join us for our upcoming Managing Your Strategic Message Session for Leaders. Learn More

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How to attract and retain critical talent

by Anne Warfield

Our company is going through a lot of change right now. I am seeing people get nervous over this change and it is coming out in multiple ways. My fear is that our really talented people may leave and at the same time there are positions I am recruiting for that might not attract the talent I want due to our current state of change. So how do I attract and retain key talent in our organization? Should I offer more money?

People with high talent usually have an internal drive to succeed. They like challenges that stretch them. They like to do rewarding work, have autonomy, and be validated for what they do

Ironically on the list of things employees want to feel valued, money comes in at number nine yet it is the first thing leaders think they need to offer. So, as long as what you are paying is fair and just, I wouldn’t worry about the money factor.

Instead I would concentrate on how I can offer autonomy, rewarding work, and strategy for growth for those in our company that have critical talent. Those you want to retain need to know exactly how they contribute to the long term.

In hiring new people you will need to talk about the autonomy, rewarding work, and the present and future culture of the company so they understand the current state of change. Remember they come in “fresh” so their brain isn’t grieving what was. That means all you need to do is create a realistic picture of what is and where you are going.

For those who are already hired at your company, you want to have quarterly meetings that cover what they are working on, how they feel validated and share with them the direction you are going. They need to feel recognized and rewarded. If possible find stretch projects for them or areas where they can shine with recognition in front of the SLT.

Above, I already laid out how to attract the talent as you want to talk about the work itself as that will be most rewarding for them.

The biggest thing to listen to is – burnout and talk of money. Highly critical talent will leave if they are feeling overused and underappreciated. Even a card specifically stating what they have done well can go a long way—they want a sense of belonging. And if you have people talking about money and you are already paying a fair and just wage, then what they are really saying is “I feel used and if you are going to use me, then I want more for my time.” In that case, you need a culture shift.


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