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The question I’m often asked at speaking events is, “Having invested time and money into my high potential staff so that they’ll be ready to be excellent leaders, how do I stop them from leaving and taking their expertise to a competitor?”

This is a completely valid question. The truth is, you can never guarantee that a person will stay in your business if you train them, but… you can almost guarantee that a person with high potential and ambition will leave if you don’t.

Your next group of managers comes primarily from your high potential staff, those with a proven ‘can do’ attitude, commitment and high expectations of themselves. These people almost always have ‘coaches and develops me’ as one of their five key motivational drivers.

So if you ensure they get high quality coaching and development opportunities, they will very likely stay. Importantly, if you don’t offer them these opportunities, they will undoubtedly leave. It is just a matter of when.

In my experience, fostering a culture of excellence and cohesion is the best way to grow your business. This means:
▶️ Upskilling your people, particularly in human (soft) skills
▶️ Discussing and agreeing career pathways with each staff member
▶️ Rewarding people for using their expertise and strengths to help other people in the business

As a leader, how much time do you spend giving positive feedback and developing your high potentials versus counselling and performance managing your low performers?

Try to implement the 80:20 rule – spend 80% of your time and training budget on your high performers rather than your low ones. Your ROI will be much higher and you’ll be much more likely to keep these high performers in your business rather than see them poached by competitors who promise development and a career pathway.