Recurring Separations

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“If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’ you’ll get more of what you’ve got.”

–     Dick Heston (1933 – 2002)

“She’s leaving me because she really wants to.  And she’ll be happy when she’s gone…”

–     Lyric from Lyle Lovett‘s “She’s Leaving Me Because She Really Wants To

Turnover:  If your only answer to the problem is to change out the people, either you are the problem or the strategy is or both.   Another of Dad’s favorites was (paraphrased) “if you’ve got the same problem with several people, guess whose problem it really is…”  So if you’re on your fourth accounting manager or your fifth sales leader or your third attorney or your ninth assistant — guess whose problem it really is!

Churn:  Clients and customers leave because they really want to.  And they’ll be happy when they’re gone.  The time to delight a client or customer is not when they threaten to leave.  It’s now.  Every minute.  Every day.  Oh, sure, they’ll say it’s price or features or functions or whiz-bang gadgets, blah, blah, blah.  But if they leave, it’s because they really want to.  And that’s our problem.   (By the way, the same is true of employees.  Counter-offers never work.  They simply delay the outcome, not change it.  If one of your best is leaving, it’s because they really want to.)

Mirrors are powerful tools for leaders.  Looking into one, and seeing who looks back, can be a powerful gut-check.  And, if the person looking back tells us that it is us who needs to change, we ought to take that counsel pretty seriously.


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