Talent: Where Does It Really Come From?


This week’s post was written by Dave Crumrine.

I once thought attracting, hiring, and retaining was HR’s job. Wrong! This element of leadership is so important it was one of the first ones the Sr. Team picked when putting together our leadership model. You see, almost all other pieces of the leadership model can’t even start without THE TEAM. You have to get and keep a core team to even begin leading. Aside from some trucks, tools, and computers anybody could buy, we are a people company, pure and simple. The intellectual property we have developed and hold resides mostly within our people.

As a leader, this needs to be crystal clear to you. You need to make sure your team is being found, grown, and retained. This is an every week, constant process you must execute as a leader. HR will be of great assistance to you, but you cannot delegate this responsibility away. Developing your talent is fundamental to leadership!
HR, and anyone else in the potential workforce, will be happy to tell you that people want to sign up for a cause, a mission – not just a job. Generationally, this is truer today than ever before. In trying to find out what an employer is about, prospective employees want to hear from the leaders of the cause! They want to be inspired. They want to “see it.” They want to “feel it” when they are interviewing and interacting with us. When you are recruiting team members, you should think of it as very high-stakes deal making. Candidates are offering part of their lives, and you are offering part of our business. This may be one of the biggest win-win setups of all time, and it is high stakes. That’s why leaders must be deeply into the talent game.

Once on the TEAM, team members want to be taught, challenged, and energized. We have started referring to this as “employee engagement.” This requires leadership – a lot of it. Whether this leadership comes from front-line supervision, middle management, or the top, it doesn’t matter; the team needs it, the business depends on it. The difference between an engaged team and a disengaged team could very well be the success or failure of the entire business.

Now for the good news: With the right philosophy and intent, growing your Talent Pool can be one of the most energizing and rewarding parts of your job. Finding and feeding a great team feels great and can last for a lifetime. Doing these things well becomes the gift that keeps on giving. Leaders often talk about their greatest achievements being the people they helped bring up. Those brought up often think of their leaders and mentors as family long after the direct work is done. This can be a great way for the servant leader’s heart to really shine through.

Interstates has a rich history of cultivating people from varied backgrounds and “stories” into successful, long-term team members. It takes intentional work by leaders, but there is no more foundational thing in a business than building the talent.

Continue leading the Interstates Way! — Dave Crumrine