Three Good Reasons to Say “I Have A Question …”

QuestionsI have this reputation for asking questions …

… in public forums where important issues are being discussed.

… in classes, usually right after a student comment or the end of a team presentation.

… when I am listening to one of my children explain things to me.

… during conversations with old friends, professional acquaintances, and total strangers while chatting in the check-out line.

Maybe I’m just a curious guy … but maybe there is more to this …

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One Billion Dollars Pledged …

File:Kickstarter logo.svg

Yeah … We are talking about another of those whimsically named online programs that sometimes come and go with dizzying speed.

Kickstarter is different …  

As they say where I’m from, this one has legs.  Here are some reasons I like and support Kickstarter:

The donations can be quite small.  It’s not all about going after the big money … it’s about how much different your few dollars make when combined with many other’s few dollars.

People can vote their passions.  You  support ideas or activities that speak to your heart … this puts power into the hands of many instead of the hands of a few.

Creativity is rewarded.  Not through massive album sales or packed stadium concerts, but where it actually resides … with individuals and small groups who decide to do something exciting and different.

The power of the Internet is shown.  People connect with other people to do good regardless of location … your investment might be on the far side of the world or right down the street.

Read more about where that one billion dollars is coming from at:

 The Top 10 Countries by Money Pledged on Kickstarter   

When you visit Kickstarter, and you will …You might just find something worthwhile to donate a few dollars to and help some folks who you do not know exist … yet.

Wondering who to invest in next in the Heartland ….


How Your Smartphone Can Affect Your Well-Being – Association for Psychological Science

SmartphoneEver get real stressed because you never seem to NOT be at work?

Here’s an interesting article about what many of us have sensed.   Now we have something to back up our suspicions that technology is not always our friend:

How Your Smartphone Can Affect Your Well-Being – Association for Psychological Science.

I am glad some organizations appear to be thinking this one through more carefully.  

Now let’s make this a trend … yes, I am talking to you, Leader, Manager, Boss, Person In Charge …

If you need to justify making sure employees are not on call all the time, just use the same logic you do to justify that Friday afternoon golf game.

Turning it off and trying to relax in the Heartland ….


Book Review: “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay” By Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans

LoveEmOrLoseEm_6-300x300Yeah … another book about engaging and retaining good employees. 

You’d think we would be past needing this information by now, but anyone who works in or with organizations to help them create employee engagement will tell you we are not there yet.

However, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans may just move us over that goal line, IF you read it and use it as the authors have designed it to be used.

Here’s what I liked most about this book:

1)      Neatly organized to help us hone in on our greatest development needs …

After brief introductory remarks, you self-assess your employee interaction behaviors with numerical values in twenty-six areas related to an alphabetical list of chapters.  Then you receive a general overview of what your aggregate scores means.  Nothing really new here, but good information.

The real value is when you are directed to go to the page which corresponds with your lowest scores.  Mine was “E ~ think employees should tell you if they are not feeling challenged in their work?”   I rated this one as a “1” which means “Always/Definitely Yes”.

In my own defense, I was thinking about encouraging employees to speak up for themselves by creating a safe space.

I then visited chapter five ~ “Enrich:  Energize the Job” and received a short, but intensively well-organized and useful discussion of “job enrichment”, which I vaguely remembered from my human resources days.   I wish my master’s textbooks had been written in such clear and helpful language, with down-to-earth advice on how to make jobs more interesting and engaging.

2)      Based on solid, deep, and broad research …

I am one of those people who usually turn to the index before I read anything in a book, looking for familiar terms and names.  I expect to see certain citations and topics in the organization of the book.  You get some sense of the sources from chapter headings in many books, although not this one.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a large amount of research cited from leadership, management, human behavior, and popular culture.  The background materials upon which the authors base this book are broad and they go deep.  This is solid stuff, rather than the “flavor of the month” type of books which too often predominate leadership and management titles.

3)      I like the authors …

The authors are long-time and well-equipped contributors to our knowledge about how to lead and manage more effectively.  

True Confession time … I did not read any of the four previous versions of this book.  However, I have read, enjoyed, and shared other books co-authored by each of these folks.  So I cannot compare this fifth edition to those earlier ones … I don’t need to, because it stands quite nicely on its own feet.

Some Minor Quibbles  …

1)       Not a big fan of alphabetical lists, which can feel contrived.  This one does not … the points are consistently valid and the non-linear organization is refreshing.

2)      The book size is 9 x 8 inches, which is not my favorite size, since it is rather large for a briefcase and does not fit well at all in my jacket pocket.  E-Version avoids this issue.

… told you they were minor quibbles.

Bottom Line …

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans is clear, easy to read, and attractively designed.  You don’t even notice how well-constructed it is or the richness of the underlying research.

Relaxing and enjoying reading my new favorite book on employee retention in the Heartland ….


BevKayeAmazon SharonJordanEvans-200x300Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans is the bestselling guide that provides twenty-six strategies to keep talented employees happy and productive. In addition to updating and revising all information for the fifth edition, the authors have included more international stories and statistics. Available January 2014 on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere!

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book for review in conjunction with their launch.  As I regularly note, I am notoriously fickle regarding free stuff.  In this case, I don’t have to be, because this book is well worth purchasing and sharing with others who want to up their employee retention game.

Guest Post: “Why Not Start With A Stay Interview?” By Beverly Kaye & Sharon Jordan-Evans


Admit it. You love them. (even if you don’t use that word)

You know – they’re your talented, committed employees. They’re critical to your success and they make your team the best one to play on. They are the heart and soul of your organization – and your competitors want them! So how can you keep them engaged and on your team?

Start with a Stay Interview

When do you think most leaders ask questions like, “What can I do to keep you?” You’re right; it’s in the exit interview. At that point it’s typically too late. The talented employee already has one foot out the door.

Have you ever wondered why we ask great questions in exit interviews but neglect to ask early enough to make a difference? The most successful leaders do ask. They ask early and often, they listen carefully to the answers and they link arms with their talent to help them get more of what they want, right where they are.

When we suggest asking employees why they stay or what would keep them, we hear, “You’ve got to be kidding,” “Isn’t that illegal?” or “What if they give me an answer I don’t want to hear?” Managers dance around this core subject usually for one of three reasons:

  1. Fear of putting people on the spot or putting ideas into their heads (as if they never thought about leaving on their own).
  2. Fear they will be unable to do anything anyway, so why ask?
  3. Belief they don’t have the time to have these critical one-on-one discussions with their talented people. (Hmm—where then will they find the time to interview, select, orient, and train their replacements?)

How might you Ask?

There is no single way or time to ask. However, a likely time is during developmental or career discussions. (You do hold these, don’t you?). Start by saying, “You are so critical to me and to this team. I can’t imagine losing you. I might not tell you that often enough. But I’d like to know what will keep you here? And what might entice you away? What kinds of things are you looking for from the job or from me?” Then listen actively to the response. Does he want a chance to learn something new? Does she want exposure to the senior team?

Beyond listening, how you respond (verbally & non-verbally, and what you say (or don’t say) is critical. Responses like “that’s unrealistic” will halt the dialogue and cause your employees to clam up — maybe permanently. Instead, tell the truth about what you can and cannot do for them but above all, demonstrate that you care enough to get creative and to go the extra mile for them.

Stop guessing what will keep your stars happy and on your team. Gather your courage and conduct “stay interviews” with the employees you want to keep. Set aside time to start the dialogue. Don’t guess and don’t assume they all want the same thing (like pay or promotion). Schedule another meeting if they need to think about it for a while.

To simply ASK may be the most important engagement and retention strategy of all. Not only will asking make your talented people feel valued, but their answers will provide the information you need to customize strategies to keep each of them.

It doesn’t matter so much where, when, or how you ask—just ASK!



BevKayeAmazonSharonJordanEvans-200x300Beverly Kaye is the Founder of Career Systems International. Sharon Jordan-Evans is the President of the Jordan Evans Group. This blog post is based on concepts from Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. This bestselling book provides twenty-six strategies to keep talented employees happy and productive. In addition to updating and revising all information for the fifth edition, the authors have included more international stories and statistics. Available January 2014 on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere!