April 22, 2021

Not Everyone Loves Chocolate!

We should have known better, of course.
I mean, we’ve been parents – and now grandparents – for long enough!

It doesn’t matter that Easter eggs are smeared over the face of every other child in the land.
Or that every grin bares dripping brown teeth.

The fact is… Edward doesn’t like chocolate.
And that’s all there is to it!

In fact, no matter what we bought for him that weekend.
Edward was more interested in playing ‘rolling eggs down the hill’ with Nana Wendy and Silly Grandad.

This Easter holiday lesson reminded me of a conversation I had with the founder of a financial advisory firm.

I asked him what his strategy was for attracting the next adviser – plus paraplanning support – into his firm.
The objective being to take them to (let’s say) £1 million per annum recurrent revenue.

He waxed lyrical about the excellent individual and team bonus scheme.
He effused about the clear Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that were bound to motivate them and fire them up.
Then enthused about the fact that there were clients he’d love to hand off to the incoming adviser.
I mean, who couldn’t resist that?

These metrics had attracted him when he was younger.
(That ‘Sky-Is-The-Limit’ clarion call that fired up a fading generation.)

So – having sought sage advice from a business consultant – he was convinced that such clear, logical, achievable structures would “absolutely do the trick!”.

I mean, it’s like chocolate.
And who doesn’t like chocolate? Right?

I waited.
In silence.
Hoping for more.
The silence started to squeak.

Eventually he asked, breathlessly: “Well, what d’you think?”

I waited a little longer, until asking:

“Help me understand a little more, if you would.” I said, slowly.
“Why exactly would I be excited to join your team?”

And so, he did. Tell me.
Rattling off the same spiel.
But this time, not sounding quite so exuberant.

Then, he asked again, “What d’you think?”

I shared with him – ever so briefly – three qualities of a Talent Magnet.

A Talent Magnet being the sort of leader who:
1. Provides a business culture where clients are being served in an unusual and life-enriching way;
2. Where team members are helped to uncover – and grow – the native talents within them (that each of us possesses);
3. Where the leader gets out of the way, and regularly shines the spotlight on the accomplishments of each team member.

Until it squeaked.

Then a quiet, flat “Oh.”

We didn’t have a second conversation.
That was silently understood, before we parted cordially.

In every business sector there are outstanding ‘Talent Magnets’.
Individual leaders. Firms.

They don’t need Soshul Meejya to relentlessly toot their horn (ad nauseam).
They don’t assume that remuneration structures and shifting goals are the magnetic stuff of their team’s dreams.
They recognise that their Best Products/Performance service could (will) be sideswiped by the next change in technology, legislation, ESG strategies, whatever.

And they know that attracting… retaining… growing… magnifying tomorrow’s Magnificent Talent – tomorrow’s leaders – demands deeper thinking than bonuses, best products, goals and KPIs.

You see. Talent Magnets have discovered…
There’s a diminishing return on asking someone to gorge more chocolate.

And people – your people – blossom, not by what you stuff into them.
But by the magnificence you help them draw out of themselves.