I’ve written a great deal about employee engagement, management renewal, and future directions for the public service. In many cases, I’m covering ground that has been explored at length by others. There exists a wide community of public servants and stakeholders with (at least loosely) overlapping visions of what the organization should become.
And there exists a slew of counterarguments. Many business writers have tackled the entitlement culture of my generation of workers, and raised questions about our naiveté and expectations.
I’ll grant the naysayers this: Change-seeking progressive employees need to be practical. Even if we’re right, change can’t happen instantly, and we need to learn to respect and navigate the organization as it is. Otherwise, we’ll never have the opportunity to influence the as it will be.
However, senior leaders: You need to be practical too.
Even if your change-hungry employees are dead wrong, you need to attract and retain them. You may have a solid business model and a winning formula, but that counts for nothing if you don’t have the talent to execute. Make no mistake, you’re competing for skill. Making some compromises on your business model to appease employees – yes, even if they’re unrealistic, entitled, or flat-out wrong – may be the practical approach compared to the cost of lost talent.
That all said, check back in a few days, because there’s an easy argument against everything I’ve just written. It involves Mitt Romney, and I’ll lay it out and look for input.