The Thirty Year Hire Fallacy

Today my team said goodbye to a colleague. I knew when we hired her that we wouldn’t keep her for years, but I had expected to work together longer than we did. She had only been with us for ten months, but that’s okay. In those ten months she improved several key work processes, unlocked a few stalled projects and started several productive conversations that have put us on a better path.

In my 19 year career, I’ve hired a lot of people onto our team. Finding great people is the part of my career of which I am most proud. Having chaired dozens of search committees, both large and small, I am invariably asked to consider if the person we are interviewing will stay for the next 20 or 30 years.

I don’t care.

When bringing new members onto our team, I am looking for two things:

  • Does the candidate have skills or abilities to help us do something we aren’t currently able to do or do well?
  • Does the candidate have the desire and ability to grow?

If the answer to both is yes, we have a match. Thirty years or thirty months doesn’t much matter. Finding someone who trusts you enough to share their talents, their time and their heart changes the game. Be a careful custodian of that trust. Build them up. Develop their talent. And when it is time for them to leave, celebrate.

I am proud of the team I serve. I am also proud of those who have left our team to build different dreams.

Thirty years? That’s the wrong question.

Will they help us grow?

Decorative image of road sign pointing towards growth

“Growth – Earnings Growth – Growth Sign”by gfdnova1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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