A wise client and friend of mine recently encouraged me to consider that every time someone makes an exit from my company, it provides an opportunity for an upgrade.
Because I value growth, this perspective makes sense to me. As our company grows, our needs change; demands increase. People will either grow with our company, they will choose to move on, or we can gently move them along.
Ouch. It hurts when people choose to move on. I get comfortable with the way things are. Whether it’s a favorite person or a favorite pair of jeans, I am comfortable with what I know. I am comfortable with who I know. More than that, I like and value people and want and expect them to grow with me. It seems (slightly) disloyal to consider that the departure of people I love means I get to upgrade the skills in my company.
But what if we could truly adopt the mindset that when someone chooses to move on, the company has the chance to upgrade capacity and capability? If so, we would approach filling a vacant position with excitement and anticipation, looking to discover the growth and improvements we can experience when we have new energy, skills, and perspectives to infuse our company with the addition of each new team member.
People coming and going, though disruptive and distracting, should net a positive outcome for the company as a whole because we can choose to upgrade the talent, skills, and energy within our company. Some questions I am considering as I think about making upgrades:
Is there an opportunity for a more effective cultural fit? Culture fit is critically important. We want to hire people who share our company’s vision and values. Determining cultural fit is not easy, but it is necessary if we want to continue to grow.
Is there an opportunity to upgrade skills? In replacing someone who leaves, we can reevaluate job descriptions. In shifting a job description, we can potentially hire someone who is positioned to contribute differently. It is not always wise to replace someone exactly. Instead, we can create new job descriptions to reflect the company’s current reality and needs.
Is there an opportunity to upgrade energy? Each person we hire brings a different approach, energy, outlook, and value. Some are a better fit with our team than others. In a time of transition, we may be able to identify a new team member who will more seamlessly work with our team.
Though I never want to treat people as commodities, and I always want to appreciate each person’s unique value and contribution, I also want to stay positive in the face of personnel shifts. Rather than only focusing on what we will miss when someone leaves, I want to look forward to the value we might discover in our next hire.