Letter from John: March 2012

My new favorite slice of wisdom was tweeted recently by the brilliant and talented Gretchen Pisano from a conference; the words weren’t hers, but I’m awfully glad she shared them.

“What if we don’t train them, and they stay?” it read.

My first corporate job was for a Fortune 500 company that treated its people as expendable; it no longer exists. I stayed there 11 months. I stuck out my second, and last corporate, gig for 12 years – primarily because my employer supported growth opportunities for every employee.

For five years, I’ve watched businesses and nonprofits around the Richmond region tighten the reins – trimming staff, cutting budgets, eliminating training and development budgets. Those moves made sense early in the recession, but smart organizations have realized that investing in their remaining people is an investment that’s been deferred far too long.

I work hard to think of ways to help the Floricane team grow and develop. Their personal and professional growth is important for Floricane, for our clients and for each person on my small team.

Some of it is free or inexpensive – we cross-train and collaborate together on projects; we attend workshops offered by HYPE and Leadership Metro Richmond; we organize “dates” with businesses we admire and meet for breakfast to talk shop.

Other developmental opportunities are major investments of time or money. This year, Sarah is participating in the Greater Richmond Chamber’s seven-month Leadership Lab program. I’m registered for a twelve-week Technology Entrepreneurship online class through Stanford University later this spring.

Our new Insights Discovery offering – self-awareness and team development – is geared specifically for individuals and organizations who truly believe that professional training and personal growth are differentiators.

I’m tired of talking to leaders who wonder aloud, “What if we train our people, and they leave us?” If you’re still asking that question, you deserve to be left.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in asking us out for a date, we appreciate good coffee.