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CEO Question- Do You Have the Right People On Board?

May 20, 2012

Last Friday I was the Keynote speaker for two events. The first event in the morning was for a large college and included faculty, registrars and student services. My message was about how technology and the generations are impacting the way the education industry is delivering services. I had spoken to a few of the attendees in advance of the presentation and they mentioned the challenges of different attitudes around technology and work styles.

The second keynote was for a group of engineers and in that group they were highly technical and were challenged with keeping up to the technology and I had a generation X come up to me to say he was challenged with leading a team of Zoomers.

This morning I did a Skype interview about the speed of technological change and how leaders can adapt and thrive with the changes.

This leads me to ask the question to all CEO’s and leaders, “Do you have the right people on board?”

We do not have the luxury any more in having people on board who are more committed to retaining the status quo than they are to innovating growth for the future. It does not matter what generational demographic anyone falls into- if any single person is not willing to adapt, change and grow then we need to decide if they are a fit for the team.

Often as CEO’s and leaders we will hang on to certain people because we believe we cannot move the business forward without that person. This is a dangerous position to be in the first place. The lesson for any leader who feels hamstrung by a team member is to – in the future constantly develop the skills of your entire team and to have succession plans.

Right now look at the make up of your team – make a list and evaluate each team member on three simple key areas:

1. Willingness to change

2. Willingness to learn and adapt to technology

3. Willingness to help the team

These three areas are crucial to today’s workplace. If you have a team member who is willing to change but not willing to help the team or adapt to technology then they are holding the company back. If you have a team member who is willing to learn and adapt to technology but not willing to personally change or help the team then they too are holding the company back.

One of the most difficult tasks as a CEO and leader is to let someone go. Yet often times when it is done after careful analysis and with care about the person there is a liberation and freedom for the leader and the team and ultimately the company.

I have a friend and colleague who has worked for the same organization for over 20 years. Recently she was packaged out due to the company doing a restructure. She was very good at what she did and the reasons for her being packaged were purely financial as they let go of 3 other highly paid team members as well. It was a difficult decision for the company’s leaders but it had to be done.

My friend said this after it all happened, “You know I would not have left on my own accord- I was comfortable and had settled into a familiarity- this is great that this happened because now I can pursue doing things I wouldn’t have done until much later”.

For many of you reading this message you have either personally been let go or restructured out of a job at some point in your career and you have likely ended up in a much better place as a result of it. I went through a series of restructures years ago when I was in finance and insurance and ultimately it led me to becoming self employed as I realized I did not want to be at the mercy of an organization.

When I ask if you have the right people on board I am ultimately asking you to not procrastinate the priority of you having the right people in place to drive the business forward

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