Had lunch with an old friend Michael Derrick (see below) who has been wise counsel and mentor to me over the years.
We usually talk business and got to discussing people and teams.
I made the comment that a running a business and staffing it with a team is like driving the 389 Bus from Circular Quay to Bondi Beach and you as the founder are the bus driver and fare collector.
The 389 winds its way from the city through a whole bunch of hipster (now) suburbs and ends up at Bondi Beach.
People get on the bus, people get off the bus, not everyone is going to Bondi Beach, not every one is onboard for the whole trip and its the same with your business, not everyone is going to the end destination, lots of people will come and go.
I used to use this to analogy to console myself when we lost team members, everyone has to walk their own path, they are not all along for the whole trip.
‘ when Michael made the comment that losing good team members was treated unlike any other asset in the business.
If the accountant lost $100,000 in cash, the auditors would be in, the accountant sacked, could even go to jail.
Likewise if a plant manager lost a $50,000 vehicle or a warehouse manager let $200,000 of stock walk out the door they would all be summarily fired.
And yet every day in our companies and startups, poor management and retention practices results in $ millions of lost talent and financial costs that eclipse any other losses a business might incur.
I thought about this for a while.
The costs are pretty clear, weeks or months without a quality resource in a growing company means you simply won’t achieve your goals.
Hiring costs are high especially if you use recruitment firms ($10,000-30,000). Training costs and time for a replacement to get up to speed could be $10000s and take months or longer. (Im sure everyone has worked for a firm that starts hiring and takes months or longer to make a decision.)
People join companies and they leave managers and it happens every day. Often people get a reputation for burning team members, and losing whole teams.
And yet you rarely hear about anyone doing anything about solving the problem of staff retention.
Just had a great night at Campaign Monitor who have created the most amazing lunch space with its own chefs and breakout space to try to attract and retain the best people to their team.
You would think that staff retention is on top of every startup CEOs todo list and yet its not, except at the excellent startups and I don’t think thats a co-incidence.
Michael Derrick is available on a very limited basis if you need some grey hair and someone who has been round the block a few times to give your some private counsel and help you get through some of the problems that high achievers experience on their path.
Once upon a time he used to close $30m PCs deals back in the early days and has given me fantastic guidance over the years, email me if you are want an intro.