Top talent talks about the importance of culture

CEO and Founder at Tramazing, former President of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, and former Executive Vice President of Sandler Corporate Training, Michael Norton has helped companies accelerate their growth by elevating their talent through learning and development programs. Michael has had the pleasure of working with world-class companies such as Siemens Healthcare, WebMD, 7-Up, Cardinal Health, Cemex, Boral, HPE, Indeed, Lonza, KONE, Evonik, Quest Software, Dell, Anixter, and many more. for 30+ years he has developed, written, delivered, reinforced, and sold sales and sales management training programs that deliver real ROI while fitting into a company's culture, processes, daily sales workflow, and budget.

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Here we are wrapping up the series, “The 5 C’s of Retaining Top Talent.” Now it’s time to link connection, collaboration, change and consistency to culture. And culture, according to some top performers across several industries, was the difference maker in their decision to stay in their current role, or to leave and explore finding success elsewhere.

Mariann is considered one of the brightest in her organization. She is a thought leader and someone who loves coaching, mentoring and developing excellence in her team. Every year she receives a glowing performance evaluation and an increase in her salary. When she emailed me after the first column of this series, she shared that she was regretfully leaving her job and team that she loved. Her reason was that after watching the culture of the organization deteriorate, and with empty promises to change, she ultimately resigned.

Her email was reflective of many I have received over the past few weeks. Organizations who are losing people are losing them largely because of the perceived negative, caustic, toxic, and confrontational environment they find themselves now working in.

Dave, a top performing salesperson is consistently in the top five amongst the salespeople in his company. He emailed me to say he was glad that culture was on the list. He reported that he had left a numbers driven, operations driven culture that never supported the sales team. As a matter of fact, he called them the sales prevention department. He left because he heard about the positive, high-energy, sales culture at his current company. He sought them out even though they weren’t looking for any new salespeople at the time. He says that “Luckily, and thankfully they saw me as a fit and offered me a job. The culture here rocks.”

We are living in very complex times, and it seems that no matter what we do as business owners, or executives leading a company, the diverse make-up of opinions, likes, dislikes, preferences, and attitudes of our team members makes it almost impossible to please everyone. Right now, if you happen to be at a place where the culture of the organization is eroding and people are leaving, there is still hope. There is still time to start making changes or leading differently…

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