We all appreciated your relentless stimulation and the really important points you drove home to our group.
Hon. George P. Shultz, Secretary of State (1982-1989), United States of America
Jan 5, 2015

Management Challenge #18: When You Have a Superstar You Really Want to Retain
Excerpted from The 27 Challenges Managers Face


Happy New Year from all of us at RainmakerThinking. I’m 99% sure that 2015 is going to be a great year to renew your commitment to strong highly-engaged management, no matter where you work or what you do. Who do you need to focus on today? This week? This month? Take it one person at a time, one day at a time. Remember: It’s okay to be the boss. Be great at it!

Stay strong!





The 27 Challenges Managers Face is now available at Audible.com. The first three people who email us with “Audiobook” as the subject will get it for free!



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November 30, 2014

Human Resource Executive

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November 30, 2014

Training Magazine

Sticky Notes: Management’s Vicious Cycle

November 18, 2014

For many years we have advised organizations of all shapes and sizes on best practices for employee retention and how to control employee turnover. Sometimes senior executives will call me in a panic over one particular superstar whom the executive is suddenly afraid might leave: “He has one foot out the door. What can we possibly do to keep him?”

Why shouldn’t employees who are worth more negotiate for the best deal they possibly can? Are you a communist? The imperative of negotiating generous terms and conditions with the best talent is just the application of free market principles to employment relationships. Employment is a transactional relationship. The question is: Will you have the imagination to negotiate fair and compelling deals with your superstars? And will you be able to muster the discretion and resources to make those deals? The best people at every level should be in a position to negotiate the best deals. When a valuable person goes to the trouble of customizing his work situation, negotiating special arrangements with the organization, his manager and his coworkers, his stake in the position grows tremendously. His investment in the organization, his commitment, his willingness to deliver results grows.

Money is, by its nature, interchangeable. Custom work conditions most certainly are not. If money is the primary currency you have for negotiating with talent, it is very easy for your employees to measure it against deals offered by other employers. Just so you know, other employers tend to pay people in money too. More is always better. Any substantial differential in financial opportunity is hard to resist.

Make your value very difficult to match anywhere else. In your regular ongoing one-on-one dialogue with every person, you should be talking about not only what you need from each person, but also about what each person needs from you. Start talking with all of your direct-reports about retention on day one, and keep talking about it. Zero in on the superstars early and often. If you are talking with them about how to meet their needs and wants on an ongoing basis, they are much more likely to talk with you at those key points when they are trying to decide whether to leave or stay. If you are willing to work with them, you can be flexible and generous. That’s how you make them want to stay and work harder, at least for a little while longer. Those employees who turn out to be long-term employees will be the ones who decided repeatedly that they wanted to stay.


The Best People are the Most Likely to Leave

Winning the Talent Wars: Retention: Lesson 3

From RainmakerThinking.Training


What are the key elements of every job that employees typically care about? Based on our research, these are the five non-financial factors of an employment relationship that people care the most about:

    • 1. When they work (schedule);
    • 2. Where they work (location);
    • 3. What they do (tasks and responsibilities);
    • 4. Who they work with; and
    • 5. What they are (or are not) learning on the job.

If you let superstars customize these factors, they will design dream jobs. The dream job factors are the most valuable currency you can possibly offer as an employer. Read more about this on HuffingtonPost.com.