Talent Unleashed

I was recently introduced to the book “Primal Management” by Paul Herr. I highly recommend it!

Herr’s book refers to the 5 biological appetites and the 5 social appetites that for thousands of years drives human behavior and when applied in a business setting can create a super organism.

Herr describes these as:

– 5 biological appetites –

  1. Nutrition
  2. Energy conservation
  3. Protection of body proper to avoid sensory pain,
  4. Breathing
  5. Reproduction

– 5 social appetites –

  1. Cooperation
  2. Competency
  3. Skill deployment
  4. Innovation
  5. Self protection.

As I was reading the book I kept focusing on the younger generation in to the work place and how these social appetites apply.

How can we best extract the talent and the productivity that this younger generation brings?

I have seen where social appetites 2, 3, and 4 can all be capitalized on in a work environment where employees are mentored. I have noted in the past how well the younger generation responds to a challenge and how well employee’s respond to sincere compliments for their achievements.

A super organism is created in an environment where employee’s are encouraged to find and discover new skill sets, new opportunities, more innovative methods, and rewarded accordingly.

A closer look at the younger generation and their environment shows us that many have come from families with divorced parents and broken homes or in single parent house holds. Many of these young adults never truly benefited from the 2 parent nurturing environment and that they may be genuinely lacking in the social appetite #5. Can employers do a better job of helping employee’s feel comfortable and secure in the work environment? A well communicated benefit plan that caters to the employee’s needs can.

In a previous article I talked about the speed of trust and how the company that can develop trust will ultimately bring in more business. The trust attitude will also help in retaining and developing productive employees.

In essence, businesses need to create the culture and operate more like ESOP companies where participants feel like they are stake holders and rewarded accordingly.

Family held business’ have to operate even more like ESOP companies. Developing the next generation of leadership is critical as they will be responsible for the acquisition of their parents as they exit the business.

I believe the kiss of death of an ESOP company is failure to create and perpetuate successor management systems and secondly failure to adequately address accruing liabilities of stock repurchases of retiring employees.

The family business setting is every bit as challenging as an ESOP because the successor managers are largely family members as well as successor owners. For that reason family businesses need to have more business structure, teach good team building skills, leadership skills, and communication skills. Business structure and the strategic plans have to be developed free of emotion that bonds and sometimes compromises the long term best interest of the company and its perpetuity.

In summary, I think businesses need to act more like families and families need to act more like businesses.

Businesses need to act more like families where employees feel secure, trusted and challenged.

Families need to act more like businesses with more structure, strategy and less emotion.

Both take focus and effort!

Len Hornung, CLU, ChFC is an associate member in Financial Design Group, and a partner member in Construction Resource Network, Madison, WI . He can be contacted at 608-662-8744 or e-mailed at len_hornung@glic.com