Engagement is Perishable

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This is the story of Dan. That’s not his real name.
You’ll see why in a second.

Dan is a first rate technician. He received uniformly excellent reviews for
his technical prowess and for his willingness to help others. I met him when his
boss recommended him for promotion because of his attitude and technical

Dan wasn’t sure that management was a good thing for him. So he hired me to
coach him through the decision process. When he was offered a promotion, months
later, he turned it down for the right reasons.

We stayed in touch. That’s how I knew about it when Dan fell in love. When
the object of his affection was transferred to another state, Dan left a company
and job he really loved to follow the love of his life.

It didn’t take him long to find work. He had top-drawer skills and great
references. He gets along well with people. His “I’ve got a new job!” email was
filled with excitement.

That excitement lasted through an on-boarding process that Dan described as
“filling out forms and listening to poor readers read from their PowerPoint
slides.” Dan was still excited though, he was ready to get to work.

A couple of weeks later I got an email from Dan. Things weren’t going very
well. For two weeks his “training” had been shadowing other techs who were doing
work similar to what he had done for a decade.

When he made a suggestion, the boss told him that he was the “new guy” and
should hold the suggestions until he had some experience. Dan quit making

A week later there was another email. Dan’s boss wanted to shadow him before
Dan would be allowed to go on calls by himself. Dan didn’t mind that except that
the boss always seemed to have scheduling conflicts. That left Dan sitting
around with nothing to do for hours at a time.

Dan suggested things he could work on while he waited. The boss said that
wasn’t a good idea because Dan had to be ready when the boss had time.

There were two weeks of that before Dan decided to quit. When he showed up
for work on the first day, he was raring to go. Even a mind-numbing on-boarding
process didn’t quell his enthusiasm.

In the time since then the excitement and energy had drained away. The result
was that a competent and creative young man was going to take his talents and
energy elsewhere.

Boss’s Bottom Line

This happens too much. Part of your job as a boss is to challenge your people
and help them grow.

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What People Are Saying

Colin Gautrey   |   30 Sep 2015   |   Reply

This is a great story Wally. Increasingly we are seeing a huge problem with people getting as far as day 91 with their motivation intact. This is just one example of the terrible waste of time, effort and energy that has a huge impact on the financial bottom line too.

Wally Bock   |   30 Sep 2015   |   Reply

Yes, it does, Colin. Thanks for sharing that and taking the time to comment.