Wasted Talent

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Wasted Talent

I started reading The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni this week.  The book is about the concept of organizational health.  Patrick shares that there are two requirements for success in business:  your company must be smart AND healthy.  Those companies that are lucky enough to be both will have an incredible advantage over the competition.

Requirements for Success




Minimal politics


Minimal confusion


High morale


High productivity

Low turnover

Now none of this should be entirely shocking news.  However, what is shocking is how horrible or unhealthy most organizations choose to be.  And yes, I said choose to be.  All of those items listed on the right side are obtainable but most organizations choose to focus their time and energy on the left hand side and basically ignore everything on the right hand side.


Amy’s Story

Let’s look at an example in a well-known telecommunications company.  Amy has been an employee or representative of the company for over ten years.  Initially, she worked in a retail store selling phone service.  She then went on to purchase and operate her own retail store.   After selling her retail store, she opted to return to corporate sales for the same company.   It is clear when looking at her history with the company that Amy is a dedicated, loyal, hard worker who thrives on challenges and goal fulfillment.


Over a year ago, Amy’s boss suggested that she move to a different position/title within the organization.  It was presented to her that she would have the opportunity to make roughly the same amount of money but allow her to sell to a different channel and gain additional experience.  As you might imagine, she jumped at the chance.


However, once she had agreed to the move and her old position had already been filled, it was determined that the commission structure for this new channel was going to be different than expected.  Different to the tune of $30,000 less for the year.  The response from management was that they were sorry but that they would not be able to make any changes until the next calendar year and no guarantee as to what that change will be.


What was initially a fantastic opportunity for Amy and a reward for her loyalty, hard work, and dedication over the years is now a financial burden on her family. It also has her wondering many things about the people and company that she works for and what her game plan should be going forward.


How does this directly impact the health of the organization?

This one situation, with one employee will now have a big impact on the health of this organization.


  • Minimal politics.   Amy will likely share her story with any and all of her trusted co-workers and potentially even some of her customers.   This will create discussions regarding this situation, other situations, and even generate additional rumors about what is happening in the organization.
  • Minimal confusion.  The organization made personnel changes before they fully understood the impact of targeting a new channel and unfortunately, forced the outcome of that poor planning onto an unsuspecting employee.  This is again confusing to the employees, managers, and customers.
  • High morale.  A once vibrant, energetic, and super positive employee is now dejected, frustrated, and lacking in self-esteem.  This will be obvious to those around her.
  • High productivity.  Prior to this, Amy was one of the top-performing sales people who worked extra hours and always went above and beyond.  However, she is now only willing to put in her required number of hours.  The rest of her time is spent trying to make up that financial loss through other means.
  • Low turnover.  Unfortunately, it is now likely that Amy will begin looking for other opportunities outside of her current company.  And potentially, others will do the same after hearing how she was treated.



In summary, this is a great example of wasted talent in an organization.  Unfortunately, there are a hundred more stories just like Amy’s that occur all too often in organizations.  Organizations can become healthier by making improvements on the right side of the chart above.  If you aren’t sure where or how to begin, contact On Target Talent to learn more.

By | 2016-10-25T16:34:15+00:00 September 14th, 2012|Organizations|1 Comment

One Comment

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