It’s time to rally the troops. This month we have been taking a deep look into the Talent War that is raging in Corporate America today. With more people quitting their jobs than ever before, the typical “fear tactics” that were once used to keep employees in their offices are no longer working.  

Initially, when we began this series, we described the need to call a cease-fire in the Talent War. We described why the Great Resignation began and how the outcome truly lies in your hands as the leader of your organization.  

"We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach." ~ Gloria Steinem
“We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.” ~ Gloria Steinem

If you haven’t had a chance to read our first article in the “When Talent Goes AWOL” series, you can do so here. In this initial piece, we also discussed the first step in the process of calling a cease-fire within your organization. You must Locate the Frontline and LISTEN to your employees. This is a process, and you must give your employees the opportunity to voice their opinions without being judged or criticized.  

The hard work you did to dig into the issues, define the core values and identity for your organization.
The hard work you did to dig into the issues, define the core values and identity for your organization.

Next, we discussed how you, as the leader, must take the next step and step onto the battleground with these soldiers. You must dive into their stories and experience this war from their viewpoint which allows you to “Describe the Battle Action”. Here, you are gathering information that will allow you to feel the war from a perspective other than your own.  

In our last article, “When Talent Goes AWOL: It’s time to raise a new flag”, we discussed why it’s time to Fly a New Flag. This is where you take the first two steps and put them into action. It is in this step of the process that you will take more risk than ever as you determine what issue(s) you will rally the troops around as a company. This is where you will define WHO you are as a leader and WHO your company is. Also, this is where you will set the stage for the final phase in the cease-fire process.  

It’s Time to Rally the Troops and Gain Momentum. 

The hard work you did to dig into the issues, define the core values and identity for your organization now needs action.  We’re talking communication, not lip-service. 

As you rally the troops, you need a finely honed message that is relatable to your organization and means something as a company.  But this isn’t just something engraved on your lobby wall or plastered on your website hero image and letterhead.  It needs to become ingrained in the organization and lived out by every leader at every level. 

Communication is critical. 

The communication process is both formal and intuitive.  Formally, you must decide how to make this new flag fly in all your communications, internally and externally.  It can’t be directed or delegated.  Your principles and identity must be part of every senior leadership team meeting and every daily stand-up meeting.  These values must be the foundation from which you make every decision. 

Processes need to reflect the change. Checks and balances need to be created for accountability to ensure it doesn’t dissolve into another “program” spearheaded by the leader who drew the short straw. 

A great example of leadership responding to an issue tactically and superficially vs. grounded in company identity was illustrated by the actions of two consecutive CEOs at a major software firm. 

CEO #1

He was notified that women in his organization, on average, received lower pay than their male counterparts.  He immediately authorized an across-the-board pay increase to all female workers without regard to qualification or performance.   

Then he went a step further.  He decried a new policy that all internal meetings must have 30% women in attendance.  The company roles did not consist of 30% women – not even close. 

 The press lauded his efforts.   

Consider what it would be like to be a woman in a meeting room the next day with no real reason to be there except to fill a quota?  Worse yet, as a woman in an essential role? 

Enter CEO #2. 

He was leading the company at the onset of the lockdown.  In a time of great uncertainty and fear, his response was to stay in touch with every employee.  He held weekly all-company webcam meetings where he updated his organization on the state of the company and its plans for dealing with the pandemic. 

He also identified the top 10 priorities for the company.  He explained why they were so important.  Then he went even further.  So committed was he to maintain focus he empowered every employee to question their manager about their work that didn’t support these ten initiatives. 

The company thrived through Covid.  Employees loved him, felt secure, and felt energized.  They understood the value of their efforts to the success of the company. 

Now, he’s abandoned a massive new office building in favor of work-from-home for everyone who desires.  How many do you think left the company to date? 

Which CEO would you rather work for?   

Yup. So would everyone in your organization. 

Without a clear understanding of their role in the company's success, employees are more likely to become disengaged.
Without a clear understanding of their role in the company’s success, employees are more likely to become disengaged.

It’s up to you. Will you walk your organization through this process and lead them to a real cease-fire that will forever change the way your company exists? 

You can’t fix what you don’t understand. The choice is yours.  

Do you need some help pinpointing the battle inside your organization?  

If you’ve already asked your direct reports these questions to call a halt to the strife and start working together, then let’s chat about how they responded and what you can do next.  

You can book a call with me here and we can spend some time discussing how we can work together to call a cease-fire in your organization.  

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