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Thank You, I LOVE …PLEASE Keep Doing It

Thank You, I LOVE YOU…  PLEASE Keep Doing IT

I just got off the phone with a lifelong friend who is the General Manager for a small manufacturing division of a highly profitable $1.5B company.  After we hung up, I smiled huge…  the company he works for will help keep me in business for yet one more year.   It may not like me, but it makes my job so much easier.  THANK YOU!

Joe is a company’s dream employee!  He works his ass off, he is completely dedicated to the mission, he develops people into great employees.  And, yes, he knows how to effectively manage a P&L.  In fact, he has become somewhat known as a “fixer of problem children.”  As in, give him your troubled divisions, and he will fix it.  And, he does!

A few years ago he went to work for his company, in a not so desirable geographic location, and has totally dedicated himself to the mission.  His division, once a flounder, is now shining.  What was a loser is now both money maker and serious regional competitor.  Because of his success, people are taking notice of his skills – both internally and outside of his company.

March is review season for his company.  Joe will conduct reviews for his 50 reports and will get his, too.  To that regard our conversation went like this…

Joe:  “I like the company, I’ve proven myself and I do a lot for them.  But, it’s getting to the point where I’m not sure what they have to offer ME.  My sense is that they’re going to ask me to go east and fix another project, but they’re going to have to make it worth my while.”

Me:  “how about the money?” 

Joe:  “yeah, that is becoming a big point of contention.  They’re into this ‘cost containment’ mode.  Despite the fact I’ve made a big turn in the P&L, they’re still looking at us like it’s a thin business. I’m meeting with the Division VP in a few weeks and he’s going to plead poverty…”

Me:  “what do you want?”

Joe:  “not a lot…  we live pretty cheap and it’s not always about money.  But, I look around at my industry peers and another ten or fifteen grand gets me to par.  I’m worth that and I’m going to be pissed if he comes in with the standard two percent and an ‘atta boy.’  The fact of the matter is that I’m getting calls, and now I’m starting to take them…”

Me:  “seriously?…  After three years in a $1.5 billion dollar market cap company, you don’t think they can find another grand a month to keep you happy?  Holy S#@&! …   It would cost them five or 6 times that to replace you!”

Joe: “yeah, you don’t know these guys… “

No, Joe.  The reality is that I DO know these guys…  I know them all too well.  SO, to all of you “These Guys” out there… listen up! 

  • The Prado Principle really does exist.  The top 20% of your organization WILL bring in 80% of the value…  It is YOUR job as a leader to keep this group exceptionally happy, but you don’t.  These are the folks I am continually reaching out too; enticing and praying will say “YES” when I call…  I LOVE it when you nickel and dime them on their bonus or give them a “2 percenter” and try to proclaim “you’re lucky to have a job.”  The fact of the matter is that you are wrong.  The top 20% will always have a job, it is you who is lucky to have them. 
  • The top 20% in your organization know their worth.  They know because I, and others like me, am happy to tell them, often, what your competition is willing to do to get them. 
  • I know that the cost can be STAGGERING when one of these top 20% leaves you.  Costs to interview, travel for candidates, lost productivity, relocation expenses, etc. can easily run into the $100K range…  And, that is for a mid-tier employee. But I also know that you will spend dollars to save dimes.  You are lockstep into your budgets and HR policies which limit “what you can pay.”  But, amazingly, you can always find a bunch of dollars for a replacement employee… when all you needed was a few dimes to keep the really good one you had.   
  • I know it is NOT always about the money.  But, your top 20% want to be appreciated.  Maybe you can’t give them the raise they want…  When that is the case, figure out what it is you CAN give them, and do it!  Options range from a one-time bonus, an extra week or two of vacation, or a trip to Cabo.  The reality is that options are only limited by your imagination. 
  • The other reality is that the options are even more limited by your ignorance of what it is he or she wants / needs to stay happy in their job and career.  I know it…   why don’t you?  When was the last time you asked? 

The war for TOP talent continues to get more and more competitive… and it’s not going to let up soon.  Unfortunately, too many organizations today have yet to realize that the top 20 percent drives profits and needs to be treated significantly different than the bottom 20 percent that is simply overhead.    So, to all of you “These Guys” out there I offer you a big Thank You!  Keep doing what you’re doing because you make my job so much easier.

Northstar Group is a premier executive recruiting firm focused on the aviation and aerospace industries.