Blumberg, Andersen Alumnus and author of Return On Integrity
Many are calling this the time of The Great
Resignation. It has almost become cliché in the marketplace – as so often
is the case with such terms. With little thought, yet much
reaction. No doubt, the term defines the pain point in many organizations.
It more accurately describes a lagging indicator of our current
reality. Unfortunately, when the focus is on the lagging indicator, it
rarely leads you to meaningful solutions.
It might better be said
that, in this time, what we are experiencing has been a long-time coming. And
might it better be described, understood, and addressed through a different
lens? I would suggest that we are in the midst of:
The pandemic has
created a plethora of new experiences – some of them tragic, some of them
systemic, many of them with unintended and often unavoidable consequences.
All of them have
directly or indirectly created a disruption unlike most anything any of us have
experienced in our lifetime. Disruptions tend to rip away the veneer of what we
come to accept or take for granted when one is in their stride. During decades
of uplifting momentum -- a sense of numbness, blurriness, and even blindness
can creep-in. One of the unique realities that the pandemic has delivered is
that is has given individuals the time to think. More importantly, it has given
millions the chance to reevaluate … not their employer, but their life. The
Great Reevaluation isn’t only about the employed, but rather about the
living. Reevaluation has a way of dissolving the numbness, blurriness and
blindness. And in doing so, it begins to reveal doorways.
the ones you are walking out of, but the ones you are being called into.
The context of life’s
circumstances is shifting around us, and it will invite each of us through new
doorways. I would propose this is true whether someone is in school, graduating
and beginning a career, in the stride of their professional life, or amid some
degree of retirement. There is always the choice to tightly grasp worn-out doorframes
and lock ourselves inside the doorways of the past – or to look forward to new
thresholds that are longing for you, for us, to cross.
Great Reevaluation will
take more than thinking of new ideas, and certainly will involve more than
thinking of executing old organizational ideas in new ways. In other
words, it will take much more than executives putting pressure on a bunch of HR
professionals scrambling to come-up with some new initiatives to stop the
bleeding – while rolling on a few more gallons of white wash.
will take a new way of thinking.
And that new way of
thinking could first be fueled by no longer thinking of this as The
Great Resignation. In an age of continuous metrics and measurements, it may
best be fueled by paying more attention to what we measure ... and the more
important things that are not so tangibly measurable.
I learned this lesson
over two decades ago while conducting a focus group for new experienced hires
at Arthur Andersen. Hiring experienced professionals was a completely new world
for us. And while no one was better at recruiting on college campuses than
Arthur Andersen had been -- no one was worse at retaining experienced hires
than we were. Early-on in our efforts, we were losing 50% of the new
experienced hires in the first 12-months of employment. This was a
business nightmare with potentially horrific systemic implications. We got
dead serious about addressing this issue … which is why our team found
ourselves on a cross country tour sitting in one focus group of new experienced
hires after another – as well as in the midst of additional focus groups filled
with the partners the experienced hires reported to. In every case, the
conversations started safely on the surface – until they became very real and
It was in one of those
real and raw moments when a partner had the courage to speak truth when she
said: I have lost 10 experienced hires in the last 6-months. I
just had my own review and not one thing was said about it. Until I am
measured on it, I doubt I will really do anything about it. As she
shared it, you could see everything in her mind, heart, and soul --- whispering
– please measure me on this. We didn’t only begin to measure
new things …
began to understand in new ways.
Where we are today is,
no doubt, far more complex. It is going to take more than remodeling or
rebuilding old ideas – it is going to more likely take redefining what work
looks like and how that work is experienced. Perhaps going even further,
it may very well take a reevaluation of the value we place on various kinds of
work and the value that work brings to our collective life experience. Maybe it
will give us a chance to eliminate the idea of my life’s work and embark on the
idea of my life’s contribution.
It could very well reframe
the idea of success in terms of what one gets … into a new collage of what one
has contributed – what they have given. It could indeed take a sense of
resignation to old ways of thinking to have the courage to walk through the new
doorways revealed by This Great Reevaluation.
Doorways are different
than change. Change can keep you spinning your wheels in the exact same
place – hence the expression: the more things change, the more they
stay the same.
take you into new places.
We would all be well served
– individuals of all kinds, organizations of all types, nations of all
continents -- by embracing The Great Reevaluation. Perhaps in
doing so we would serve better.
Doorways are gifts
positioned throughout the various stages and seasons of our life. Maybe
one of the gifts of the pandemic has been to lift the fog so they can be seen.
What doorway is calling you? What would it take for you to cross that next
As always, I’d love for you to share your thoughts! We could all benefit, if you would be so kind to share your thoughts email me at John@BlumbergROI.com!