The Great Recalibration

The Great Resignation is fake news!

I will assume that The Great Resignation is not a new concept for you. Unfortunately, The Great Resignation is a perspective that focuses on the wrong issue. If you are worried about your team leaving, it might be time to check your leadership culture.

The answer is not in resignation! It is in having conversations about recalibration, resolution and restoration. I want to offer three simple strategies to address any Great Resignation and shift your team toward a positive, goal-oriented future - don't give up on me just yet!

Since 2021, there has undoubtedly been growing concern about an issue that leaders have faced well before any pandemic started. The challenge of staff retention can often feel like a tectonic shift. While many people want to attribute this to our most recent global events, staff retention is not a new concept; it is a motivational question. Why would people want to work hard for you? What makes your vision and business goal worth building?

We are facing a Great Recalibration, and resignation is not the answer.

Sure COVID has changed many aspects of our lives, some for good and others present challenges and opportunities we didn't necessarily anticipate. We are experiencing is a tectonic shift in how we place ourselves in society. COVID was a catalyst.

In life, we go through stages when 'buzz' words or phrases often shape how we behave, think and feel. Do you remember the buzz around 'fake news' or go back a little further, and there was the term "Great Recession", "Great Depression". The business world loves buzz words; they are often used to shape meaning and provide direction.

For example, I have done my time flipping burgers (look, another buzz phrase). I also remember the day when driving a manual car was normal.

Our post-pandemic world will see more people shifting back to the manual drive of their careers and life. Manual cars provide a sense of control, and you decide how long to stay in one gear. Sometimes this gives you more torque, while other times, it is about shifting down early to slow the engine down in preparation for a sharp corner.

You may be stepping into 2022 with some trepidation. There are good reasons to feel somewhat cautious about setting some goals too early. Imagine the plans some great tennis players made as they started this year. One strategy might be to park those goals and ride out the next wave of [... insert unknown surprise event...]

At the start of a New Year, there is a general sense we need to make some resolution. Even if you have resisted the urge, you still face that awkward conversation with family, friends or work colleagues. That highly predictable question of asking about your goals for the year ahead. This question can prove difficult to answer if you haven't given it much thought. And, with a glazed look, you stare in the distance looking for fresh inspiration. Maybe you take the default position; get fitter, healthier, quit something, start something or change careers. Any of these are highly commendable, provided you have a plan.

Setting goals is motivating, and it is a focal point in many coaching conversations. Goals are important because they connect to a deeper purpose and meaning. And it is this idea we need to shift our thinking from resignation to recalibration; that we would lead our teams in a conversation about purpose and what brings meaning.

If the Great Resignation is something you are experiencing, then it might just be that you have missed reading the warning signs. How have you responded to working with a remote team? Are you concerned that one of your top performers may decide that it is more important to find balance and fresh inspiration in other activities?

There are some key strategies to recalibrate, reinvigorate and retain talent.

Strategy 1: Recalibration

Implementing this strategy is about conversations. And, I am not talking about a performance conversation. Instead, it is a more authentic and empathetic conversation toward our current experiences. We need to allow people the opportunity to recalibrate with a range of expectations. It is often the unspoken expectations that cause relationships to get stuck. Helping our team to express expectations in healthy ways, without fear of judgement, will invigorate a sense of commitment. Make time in the coming week to ask some simple questions. Ask your team what has shifted for them in terms of their attitude toward work? What would they like to change to connect with the organisation's goals?

Strategy 2: Resolution

Once you are clear on expectations, you need to resolve any gaps. Part of this may require an honest conversation about remuneration and working conditions. But, as leaders, we need to expand these strategies to embrace our diversity. This strategy can often prove the most interesting because it requires great creativity and innovation. You are looking for divergent perspectives on what resolution means. It means helping people see the gap, addressing potential disappointment and identifying a way forward. This might result in resignation at times but is more likely mutually agreeable. More often, a sense of connection is reestablished thanks to the resolution.

Strategy 3: Restoration

With a sense of connection, the following strategic conversation is about restoration. The default position is to consider our job descriptions and reengineer these to something more suited. Leaders will take this conversation to a deeper level. We want to empower our team to redefine what is meaningful work. In doing this, we invite restoration of their identity, integration with other aspects of life to the point of fulfilment. It doesn't feel like work when a passion, a why drive you. Redefining what is meaningful will restore us to our why.

Three simple strategies that any leader can implement into their team conversations. What might hold you back from having these conversations? Well, it will be your perspective. If these conversations start with a concern of resignation, then you need to change the framing.

Borrowing from the words of a favourite author, David Rock, who recently said, 'as you struggle with uncertainties ahead, may you remember what truly matters, and make the bold decisions that can help you make the best of things.' Start the conversation with recalibration, and you may be surprised about what you learn.

If you are interested in discussing ways to implement this model please feel free to drop me a line.


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