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Talent War

7 Tactics to Drive Away Talent

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The Preeminent Guide to Losing the Talent War.

I’ve seen everything in my 20- plus years as a management consultant, and let me tell you, if for some reason you want to drive away your talent, I can guarantee success with these 7 tactics.

1. Set unclear expectations

Let’s start getting your people to quit with an easy one. To set unclear expectations, consider two options. First, set impossible KPIs, SLAs ABCs and XYZs on Monday and then on Tuesday, tell people you don’t actually give a damn. Second, Don’t have any standards or metrics at all. For example; ensure that you ride your sales people, to chase down every lead. But… be sure to scold them when they go after prospects that are below your value threshold. Also, give them a good dressing down for wasting time strategizing on how to land a whale. The confusion will have them spinning like a top. Finally one day, they’ll be so dizzy or ill from motion sickness, they’ll just stop showing up to work and you’ll never see them again. Whew… what a relief!

2. Provide all the answers, all the time

Providing all the answers all the time is an awesome tactic because it’s sooooo eazzzy. You’ll be amazed that you never thought of it before as a tactic for driving out talent. So, because you are the leader, you must hold on to a fundamental truth: YOU KNOW BETTER!! Sorry for shouting but I want you to hear me. Remember, the title on your business card proves that you are smarter than everyone on your team. No matter what, do not practice humility. You do this by stealing knowledge you don’t have, from the mouths of your team members. Then, word salad the jargon and voila, you’ll have made them your own! This tactic is both an art and a science and it’s extremely effective because employees find it really offensive. It also means that no one on the team has the chance to grow…. except you. With any luck, you’ll be able to keep your people frustrated until they finally wake up and head for the hills. Like it so far? Just wait unit we get to the rough stuff in tactic #3.

3. Don't coach

Coaching is a soft skill that merely dances around the issues, so don’t coach. You must know that encouraging your team to arrive at their own answers is new-age, mumbo jumbo. Snapping impatiently is far more effective. “Just get it done!” is a strong statement for driving out talent. You can also be dismissive to employee improvement needs by responding with one word responses like “whatever.” For increased sarcasm, push your tongue against your cheek, nod-shake your head and use a Californian accent. Reference “The Californians” from SNL to practice and then give it a try.  “Whateverrrr….”

Now, if you are dealing with top performers, ensure you listen to them when they quip, “I don’t need coaching.” After all, they’re already making low six figures right? Do not let them get near any coach who’s helped others crack the mid-six or seven figure plateau. Yes, some of the brightest and wealthiest executives in the world today have professional coaches. Let it be known that your organization is beyond this ridiculous idea. 

Before we move on, a word of caution: If anyone gifts you a book called “The Trillion dollar Coach” snatch it from their hands immediately and light it on fire. Tell them to never speak of the book or the incident again. Remember, it did not happen. Next, reference some of the worst talk show conspiracy theorists, and their determination that the book is mere propaganda, to promote the new world order. After you’ve extinguished the flames, motion your hand like you are ‘shewing’ a stray dog. If you remain disciplined to this point, it’s just a matter of time until the profanity laced resignations arrive in your in-box. “Good riddance” never sounded so good!

4. Hold lots of confusing and unorganized meetings

Employees hate participating in lots of unorganized and confusing meetings, so don’t look this one over. Hold it in your mind that preparing, using agendas and sticking to important topics is a complete waste of time. As well, who needs accountability lists and assignments? Just run off your mouth about some new corporate initiative “blah… blah… blah.” Throw in some big terms and promises like ” we’re getting traction…” and “.. focusing on industry verticals… blah… blah…” and be gone.

Also, arrive late to the meeting you organized and then walk out when you feel like leaving. Don’t follow the agenda to the end. If people don’t like your creative style, they can hit the road and go to the competition. Most critical though on this topic however, is to not under any circumstances, let your team develop their own skills in this area. If they are still hanging around like a bad flu bug, then sure, let them lead a meeting. But… with rapid-fire succession, ask a plethora of technical questions they have no chance of answering. The humiliation will be epic and will send them packing before the tears running down their cheeks are able to dry. Make sure you take pictures of the incident to hang in the company cafeteria as a warning to others. Gone!

5. Standards for thee, but not for me

If you were paying attention, you would have gotten a free master class from numerous politicians during Covid 19 regarding “rules for thee but not for me.” Ensure you set high standards for everyone’s behavior at the office regarding revenue performance, language, punctuality, ethics, workplace safety and inclusion. However, you must be sure to lower the bar when it comes to your own behavior to pull off this tactic successfully. If you feel the urge to tell that racially charged joke that was accepted (but not acceptable) twenty years ago, let it rip. Bolster the disgust with profanity and remember, the more offensive the better. That oughta work nicely for driving away talent. See ya!

But wait… there’s more! If you are a fan of theatrics,  take full advantage of the next company social event. Make sure that you drink copious amounts of booze (hard liquor is the best) until there are several ejections of vomit or you start a fist fight with a stranger. Hire a sober photographer so they can immediately post the photos to Instagram and write captions of how awesome you are at team building. This tactic will indelibly stamp the duplicity you are aiming for, on the minds of these now former employees for EVER!  

6. Dominate client meetings

Dominating client meetings is an outstanding tactic for ridding your company of annoying talent. Especially the wall flowers and the introverts. I mean seriously, one of the biggest pains as a leader, is when a weak knee’d employee requires additional support to close a deal. “Just handle it already!” you plead. Unfortunately for you, cranky, difficult and pesky potential clients who determine your success, often insist they have a more senior person available at times. Can you believe the nerve?!

So if you must go, ensure to show-up early and separately from your employee. This makes it clear to the client that you are a champion of creating division among the ranks. During the meeting, puff up your chest, interrupt and wave your hands dismissively at the lesser being’s comments. Let the client know that you are the key to making this account work and that it’s you who will make things right when junior messes up. This is one of those situations where you do put “Baby in a corner.”  

7. Promise to invest in updated technology, but DO NOT deliver

So you somehow slipped up and made a promise to invest in updated technology. Awesome! You’ve walked into an opportunity to back out and never deliver on said promise. Here is the 4- step formula for deploying this tactic to ensure a multitude of departures. 

1. Let the rank and file know that the ready-to-die, ten year old, slow as molasses server is just fine and that the regular crashing is normal in the IT world these days. Come on people.

2. Wait and watch with great anticipation for the server to explode into a ball of flames, losing years of priceless customer and company data. Sweet!

3. If you have a central PA system perfect. But if not, get a megaphone from your local thrift store (preferably one with a siren) do a walk through of every office and cubicle and yell to the best of your ability: “There is no way in hell we’re moving to the cloud!” Let everyone know that you’ve done no homework, but your gut tells you that cloud technology is way too expensive. If they still whine, yell back by telling them services like Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure cannot be trusted. Do not tell them that these technology platforms are used by some of the best companies in the world.

4. Put the bull horn down or turn off the PA system, go back to your office and close the door. Write a mass email informing everyone of the good, great news! “I got confirmation today. Wait for it… the parts are on the way and the intern will begin building a new server from scratch as early as next week!” This is a down-right nasty move, that will either bankrupt you, or cause all of your annoying employees to quit in a flash- or both!

To ensure these tactics don’t creep into your organization, attend our FREE digital master class of  Manage, Lead & Scale on Wednesday, April 20, 202: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

Kevin Moloney

Kevin Moloney

Kevin is the President and Founder of Clear Moves Consulting. To explore and solve issues related to your Business Technology, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching or Strategy and Planning, call him at 778.317.8064 or kevin@clearmoves.ca