Leadership Challenge : Mismatch of Values

The CEO of a large technology company was speaking to me after one of my keynote sessions.

He was sharing how his biggest challenge today isn’t getting business, they already have a lot of business coming in, but people.

He is unable to find good people and people quit too soon. Specially young people are hard to keep for a longer period of time.

And how new projects can’t be completed if they don’t have the right people working on them.

They regularly hire thousands of people, but they quit soon. This costs them money in training and hiring and also disrupts the flow of work.

He was struggling with this and wanted some guidance.

This is a challenge more and more leaders are facing these days – specially with young people.

I am lucky because I get to interact with people very closely across generations, boundaries and sectors.

So I might interact with a senior level CEO or CHRO. And at the same time I will interact with someone doing their MBA at a top B-School or studying engineering at the IITs or Stanford.

And there is a major mismatch between the mindset, ideas and values of the people hiring and the ones being hired.

For instance the CHRO of a very large business house in India, has worked for this company all his life. He went to an excellent management school and got placed here and rose the ranks. He has never worked anywhere else and loves his company.

It is like his second home and he feels very secure there.

Now on the other hand, a young student passing out of a business school doesn’t have the same values. When I interact with them, they believe they will stay at a place of work for an average of two to three years at most. They feel they will grow more if they switch jobs.

They are looking at life beyond work. They want experiences, they want to travel, they want to learn new things, they want fun, they want adventure, they want to be respected and understood. Work isn’t the only aspect of life.

This is also because the economy has opened up. There are more opportunities today, financially there is more flexibility and comfort.

So if you are leading an organization or team, you need to understand the changing scenario.

You need to accept it and then formulate a new strategy.

One thing that works very well in retaining people and ensuring they do their best work is to first understand them on a deeper level. While hiring, don’t focus just on their skills, but what they want out of life.

Learn more about their dreams, aspirations and vision.

And then create and alignment with their vision with your corporate mission.

For instance, one of my clients did this. She found out lots of young people are conscious about the environment, health and nature.

They started a program in the company, where on weekend the teams and their families met and planted food bearing trees and regularly ensured someone watered them. This created a sense of bonding where people worked, interacted and laughed together outside the work space.

Also, for a mango tree to grow, it takes around five years. And for five years, you need to water and take care of the tree. This also sends a deeper message on the sub-conscious level, about having a longer term vision.

About nurturing work and relationships.

Another organization, regularly organizes monthly retreats to forests and rivers and support conversation through their CSR.

And every organization that started such initiatives is able to create a culture of bonding, communication and realize their workspace supports and encourages overall and holistic growth.

Remember, the best people always go to the organizations that have the best culture and leadership. You can no longer hold on to the best people by simply offering more money.

The best want deeper meaning, purpose, happiness and want to feel there are contributing to something larger than themselves.

Start thinking beyond the conventional and expand your horizon and align your values with a new future.

Any leader who does this, will be able to charge forward with courage, determination and excellence.

Best of luck! And let me know the results you get when you implement these strategies.

I love hearing about your success and growth!

Yogesh Chabria


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