Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Love 'Em or Lose 'Em

In sales, there is a saying that keeping an existing customer is worth far more than attracting a new customer.

It is often the same with personnel. Every team, every organization relies on skilled and motivated people.

The first key to assembling a great team is to keep the great performers you already have. Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans tackle how to do this in: Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay.

Marketing copy on the top of my edition lists Love 'Em or Lose 'Em as "the bestselling employee retention book in the world." While I can't say whether or not that is true, I can definitely tell you that the principles in Love 'Em or Lose 'Em are very sound.

Kaye and Jordan-Evans lay out their 26 engagement strategies in sequence of the English alphabet. For example: (A) Ask what keeps you? (B) Buck stops here. (C) Careers - support growth. (D) Dignity - show respect... You get the idea.

Additionally, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em begins with the a fictionalized, but realistic, memo from an performing employee who decides to leave. The employee give an overview of the reasons they chose to depart. The book then reviews its 26 engagement strategies by starting with a segment of the resignation letter.

For beginning managers and business leaders, it is important to understand that money might initially attract someone or keep them from leaving, but it does not motivate. Newer managers are often surprised by this. But it isn't too surprising if you reflect on your own behavior.

We do our best work when the work is meaningful, we are engaged and share values with the people we work with, we feel valued, and we feel we are making a contribution.

When these things are absent, we might not leave...but, organizations are full of people who have "quit" without leaving.

Love 'Em or Lose 'Em discusses these principles and others with readable and practical suggestions you can begin implementing immediately. Kaye and Jordan-Evans provide straight-forward advice to help you keep your performing staff.

But this isn't a book of shortcuts. Real relationships are built on authenticity and integrity, not on manipulative tricks. You won't find those in Love 'Em or Lose 'Em. At its heart, this book means what it says, if you legitimately care for your team members - including making hard decisions like helping or removing those not carrying their weight - your team is far more likely to stay, be engaged, motivated, and productive.

I recommend Love 'Em or Lose 'Em for any leader or manager. Even if you're a pro at taking care of people, you'll likely find one or two good reminders here.

Happy Reading,

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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