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Will Work for Meaning: Engaging and Retaining Talent

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By most accounts, the Millennial generation is the most exhaustively studied and researched generation of all time. Organizations obsess and scrutinize the data to see what the implications are for business and the future of the workforce. What do Millennials want? What motivates them? How can we keep them—and keep them engaged?

Making sweeping, generalized statements about any large group of people is an easy trap to fall into, and that’s often the case with the way statistics about Millennial turnover and retention rates are interpreted. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2016, 44% are willing to leave their current employer for a new organization or to do something different within the next two years. Two in three expect to leave by 2020.

The oversimplified, boiled-down conclusion: This is a group of perennial job-hoppers who don’t have any real allegiance to their companies. But dig a little deeper, and you might find that the bigger story here is that many companies aren’t giving Millennials much reason to stay. And the issue may not be so neatly tied to a single generation.

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Why Your Management Training Programs Might be Limiting Their Success

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"Most managers of business functions epitomize their occupation.”   This statement, taken from The Whole Brain Business Book, isn’t likely to surprise you. It makes sense that someone who’s moved up to a management position would be the embodiment of his or her functional area of expertise.  

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Employee Engagement Hinges on “Thinking Managers”

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When it comes to bridging the engagement gap, are your managers part of the problem or part of the solution?

If you weren’t able to attend Ann Herrmann-Nehdi’s recent HRDQ-U webinar, “Developing ‘Thinking Managers’ to Bridge the Engagement Gap,” here’s a taste of what you missed:

  • Survey after survey shows that a large portion of the workforce is either only partially engaged or totally disengaged.
  • US businesses lose $11 billion annually as a result of employee turnover.
  • Managers account for as much as 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.
  • Everyone processes information differently based on how they prefer to think, and these preferences affect what will engage them, what will frustrate them, how they prefer to get work done, and what kinds of work will inspire them to give it their all.

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“Thinking Managers” More Critical Than Ever

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In his groundbreaking book, The Creative Brain, Ned Herrmann wrote about the important move to Whole Brain® management as a necessity for business survival and success. The primarily left-mode thinking (A and B quadrants of the Whole Brain® Model) prevalent in most organizations’ leadership teams would hold them back, he warned, because:

The right brain (especially D quadrant) is the only part of our brains that deals effectively with change. As essential as left-modes are to business success, they spell slow death for a company when used without the right-brain modes…If change is constant, in order to compete effectively in a world characterized by change, business managers must function in all four of the brain’s different modes, right as well as left, upper as well as lower.

Today, we’re seeing this play out almost to the extreme. Managers at all levels are requiring increased agility to deal with a level and pace of change, complexity and uncertainty that’s even more intense than it was when Ned first wrote about it.

But what exactly is Whole Brain® management? Ned emphasizes that it’s not about de-emphasizing the left modes of thinking or putting the right modes into “exclusive ascendance.” It’s also not about mentally restructuring the corporation:

What I do mean is this: When designing and implementing responses to business issues and challenges, the human brain functions at its most innovative, productive best only when all four quadrants engage situationally and iteratively in the process.

In mental terms, this means no organization that restricts its mental options to A and B quadrants alone can hope to prevail over the organization that uses A, B, C and D.

For managers, in particular, that means realizing “that we function situationally—that we have equal access to all four [styles of thinking] so that when the situation calls for a given type of mental function, we can give it our best response.”

Check out our recent white paper, Navigating in an Unpredictable and Complex World: Why Thinking Agility is Critical to a Manager's Success, for tips and strategies to help today’s managers use their own—and others’— thinking in the most optimal way.

Because the more things change, the more we need Whole Brain® management!

How will you adapt? White Paper

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The Case for Slower Management: Agility Isn’t Just About Speed

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There’s a famous line from the movie The Princess Bride that could easily refer to the way so many of us define what it means to be agile leaders and managers:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Agility doesn't mean what you think it means

When I hear the word “agility,” my first thought is always: Speed. I need to constantly be moving fast, staying nimble in the face of continual changes and complexities. It’s as if the old playground game of “Think Fast!” has become the daily battle cry, and I have to not only stay ahead of the pace but also be ready to shift on a dime when the unexpected comes up.

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Developing Managers? Start With Their Thinking.

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“Agility” has become one of the hot buzzwords of the workplace today. As we settle in to a reality of rapid changes, continual uncertainty and new circumstances that have very little precedent and no clear-cut answers, everyone is feeling the pressure to adapt, to flex, to shift on a dime.

In many organizations, it’s the managers and emerging leaders who are on the front lines of this pressure. As Tom Davenport of Towers Watson put it, "Creating a resilient workplace that can deal with trauma and come out engaged on the other end is not a senior executive's role. It's a line manager's job."

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The Whole Brain Business Book 2nd Edition

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