Seems like Bogle likes to quote great literature. He had a great quote for me when I met him several months ago in the Vanguard cafeteria. (He goes back to “visit” all the time.) We were doing some retention work there and I complimented him on the hard work his organization had done (and they did!). He said that he could boil down the manager’s role in retention into a few words: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I thought this hit the nail on the head, but then I thought about it and it really isn’t the retention secret after all. I’d need to amend that famous quote to “Do unto others that which they want you to do unto them.” In other words, ask…and then listen, stupid! Managers need to learn to ask their people what they need, and to treat them very individually – maybe the better quote is “different strokes for different folks.”
John, you had a great article in FC last August. (In fact, I have it in my own “read-this-again” file.) In “How To Lead Now”, you suggest that we can get more out of people not by cutting and slashing, but by nurturing, engaging and recognizing. You lament that many workplaces have moved from “what can we do to keep you happy and keep you here” to “you’re lucky to have a job so sit down and shut up”.
And if this tune doesn’t change, if managers stay arrogant about talent, then the words of John Sullivan (and many, many others) should ring loud and clear, “It appears that every man, woman and child is ready to quit their current job at the first opportunity.”
Time to wake up – now.