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Continuous Vitality


Continuous Vitality

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Workplaces That Make Sense For People

I recently attended a graduation for a group of leaders who finished our Influence Leadership Series at Priority Learning. One of our participants made a graduation day ending presentation on continuous vitality in the workplace, which created an epiphany for me. While we spent the bulk of our time preparing leaders to be better at their craft, and this concept is central to that practice, I found myself suddenly awake and more intrigued with her conclusions than I have been in a long time. This week, while I was out explaining to a group of leaders the epiphany I had, the blank looks in the room told me that maybe I should start at the beginning. The beginning is explaining what we mean by continuous vitality. So, before you get that blank look...

The employee life cycle is what happens in every employee's employment life from the beginning to the end that adds or subtracts to their personal satisfaction and factors into the value an organization gets from each person. When it "doesn't work out" for an individual, the organization spends too much money, time, and energy moving on to the next person. Popular literature on the subject suggests that on average it cost between $5000 and the total of a candidate's starting salary to replace a person. When it doesn't work out, there are only four places to look.employee life cycle

  • Hire the Right Person - If you know what you want and how to select the "right" candidate, you will save lots of time and money. Most people (even HR folks) admit that this is mostly a guessing game. Character hiring is much more of an art but, more importantly, it is the secret to success. Many organizations invest large amounts of money annually to be better at this. Did you hire the right person?
  • Train People Completely - Training is not finding the available person to bring a person into the company. Trainers and training need to be chosen carefully, tested, adjusted and given time and money to do the job right. Over time, we see people and companies improving but we still need to ask, Did we train the person completely?
  • Leading People- Leaders play a key role in the retention of people. In general, more people leave jobs because of their bosses than any other reason. Conversely, we stay because of the high quality leadership we receive and each of us can name the people who have positively impacted us more easily than those who led us badly. Did we lead extraordinarily?
  • Continuous Vitality by Supporting the Employee's Complete Work life - Beyond selection, training and good leadership, employees need things. You cannot be on the job for years and years and not continue to grow as a person and many times we opt for safety in place of growth and find ourselves unhappy and not knowing why. People need participation, appreciation, and growth over time. Without these essentials, employees get restless, entitled, cynical or even angry when these things are neglected. Did we create continuously vital?

We find that the first three are not easy but almost everyone is working at it pretty hard as a way to create good work, good leaders, dynamic workplaces and the finest employees. The forth (continuous vitality) is much harder because we don't really have a rock solid concept of what continuous vitality means to people. For instance, many people feel continuous vitality means promotion to the highest level in the organization. Still others identify it as doing more and more work with customers, and for others it may mean becoming more intellectually engaged through education or learning/training. Some folks want more detailed work and strive for perfection and others want more of a voice in the decisions of the organizations. We plan to assuage this mystery starting in March.

Most importantly, we know that the more we open the concept of continuous vitality up to leadership audiences, the more they embrace the idea. Usually, it is because it touches them personally, and they can identify with the frustration of being in the work place doing their jobs but missing out on the feeling of satisfaction we all crave.

This month, beyond just a basic understanding of what it means for each person to feel continuously vital, I wanted to share the ideas from our recent graduate (with her permission) that I mentioned earlier...Sangeeta Norton is Maine State Credit Union's Internal Auditor, and it is she that we refer to, as we list the things below she felt might make a difference.

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Ralph Twombly
Priority Learning

In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.



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