TeamStrength Leadership Workshop 2022 Summary & Action Items

Dick Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics, opened with a focus on employee retention.

The Challenge:

1. There is no one-size fits all solution to turnover – takes a combination of leaders 1-1 relationship to team members and HR processes like surveys and salary and benefits focus.
2. The number one reasons employees stay or leave is how much they trust their manager.
3. Six subtractions from the workforce created/exacerbated the current labor shortage: early retirement, parents quitting/home schooling, Covid deaths, Covid-driven entrepreneurship, less loyalty in younger workers and a declining birthrate.
4. The experts predict the labor shortage and resignation will continue. Without an improvement in immigration, the workforce shortages will continue to drive inflation and supply chain issues, blocking at return to economic growth.

Finnegan’s Arrow – 5 Steps to reduce the cost of turnover, improve employee engagement, and improve revenue and profitability:

1. Calculate the true cost of turnover
2. Set annual goals to reduce turnover for each manager
3. Implement stay interviews
4. Have managers forecast retention likelihood for each team member
5. Drive accountability to the targets

“The greatest reason employees quit is what they talk about over dinner.” And Dick reminded leaders, “You’re on the menu every night.”

Dick recommends you focus on two things: (1) Reducing overall turnover and (2) Reducing new hire turnover – keep them early and you win!

The Stay Interview:  Five questions a manager asks the team members. Do’s and Don’ts.

– Do this every 6-12 months with existing team members.
– Do more often with new team members – 2X in first 60-90 days.
– Do invite them to complain.
– Do probe on answers – 5 questions becomes 25 questions.
– Do these with a pen and paper
– Do focus on really listening to answers.
– Do practice empathy.
– Don’t put a machine or desk between you and the employee.
– Don’t make a question multiple choice.
– Don’t send questions in advance.
– Don’t complain with them.
– Don’t make their issues small.
– Don’t fix it.

Additional insights:

1. Number one thing employees ask for: ‘Better Work Processes.’ Employees want to be more productive.
2. People are emotional first and rational second. Stay interviews are about building trust and connecting to the emotional issues with an employee. 20% talking, 80% listening.
3. Share realistic job previews to reduce first 60-day turnover. Ask them what they didn’t like in the job preview – then ask them to rate how much they didn’t like it on a scale of 1-10.
4. Double your employee referral bonus and pay it on day one. Keeping the employee is your job, not the person who referred them.
5. Double the bonus again after three referred employees and pay the higher bonus forever.
6. Make conditional offers – with the condition being you don’t want them to take the job if they can’t see themselves being here in one year. Explain that trust starts now and encourage them to sleep on it before making a decision.


1. Get your CFO or accounting team on putting hard numbers to the cost of turnover.
2. Implement stay interviews. Start at the top – CEOs with their direct reports first.
3. Read one Dick’s books. You can find them here.
4. Hold a weekly meeting focused on new hires (under 60 days). Talk about how they are doing and how you keep them. If any left, talk about why and what you learned.
5. Have managers set retention goals, and forecast each team member on their likelihood of leaving in the next year. Regularly revisit the forecast and actual turnover.
6. Develop effective realistic job previews and use the conditional job offer question – Can you see yourself here in one year? If not, don’t take the job.
7. Read Dick’s Blog and get your managers to subscribe. Check it out here.

 Jean Seawright of Seawright & Associates shared her top five concerns/opportunities.

1. Department of Labor focused on bonuses – overtime must be paid on nondiscretionary bonuses.
2. The increase in the minimum exempt salary is coming and will likely move to at least $47k and may go as high as $70k to $80k.
3. New benefits are emerging – in particular focused on employee wellness. Onsite counseling and other ways to create a ‘social safety net.’
4. Neurocognitive Claims – anxiety and depression need to be treated like physical challenges
5. Cannabis – medical marijuana use a challenge with drug testing.


1. Review the DOL Fact Sheet #56.
2. Review your salaried exempt team members and be ready for a shift in the minimum pay rate.
3. Consider counseling options like, or for those providing elderly care.
4. Review ADA policies on neurocognitive issues.
5. Consider revisions to your drug screening on medical marijuana use.
6. Review Jean’s handouts for more information.
7. Sign up for Jean’s Newsletter here where she periodically shares important HR policy and legal changes on an as-needed basis.

Dr. Laura Gallaher spoke on Creating a Culture of Accountability without a Carrot or a Stick

Key concepts:

1. Visualizing actually changes your brain. Envisioning the target makes it more likely to attain, and research says visioning leads to more confidence, resilience and discipline.
2. We make choices every day all day and many of them are below the conscious level.
3. Individuals may have different perceptions of their level of choice on the 0-9 scale.
4. In some cases, we don’t even see that a choice exists. If we judge the choices as ‘bad’ we might not want to even recognize we have a choice. And if we believe we don’t have a choice, it becomes reality.
5. Our choices – even of lack of awareness that we have a choice – all have payoffs. At the conscious level, we make a clear decision. At the subconscious level, the decisions are influenced by emotions and how we want to be seen by ourselves and others.
6. Examining the payoffs of our choices helps us understand if there are other ways to get these same payoffs while allowing other choices to be made. If we can’t do that, we become change resistant.
7. Blame is the most common defense mechanism in organizations, and is where we usually start when something goes wrong. This leads to a negative accountability cycle of defensiveness, caution, and unsolved problems.
8. A positive accountability cycle starts at the same place, but instead of beginning with blame, it starts with looking for what happened with open exploration and a pursuit of solutions. People look at the circumstances, their contribution, the system contribution and outside circumstances.
9. In this approach, everyone is 100% accountable, but no one is to blame.
10. The question in this approach is “What did I do to prevent a solution to the problem?”
11. Each team member repeatedly answering this question can lead to real breakthroughs and solutions.

Additional insights:

1. The brain is really cool: if you think about something it becomes real – your body believes it.
2. Experience isn’t the best teacher – reflected experience is the best teacher.
3. Vulnerability is courageous and courage is contagious.
4. Lead with love, not fear.


1. Do more visioning with your leadership team. Start with what it looks like to have a true culture of accountability. Really get a picture of how this could change your organization and use it to fuel the insights and discipline to get there.
2. Go beyond this use visioning regularly in your leadership team meetings. Encourage leaders to do the same with their teams. What does it look like when we hit these goals? Envision how it will be when we solve this problem. Make this a regular part of using collaboration as a superpower in your meetings.
3. Coach your managers on helping people identifying choices and options. Lead with questions that get people connected to their options. ‘I didn’t have a choice’ is rarely true.
4. Check out Laura’s blog. Linked here.
5. Repeat the accountability circle exercise with you team when faced with your next challenge. Each individual only speaks to their own behavior answering the question – What did I do to prevent a solution to the problem? Go through this multiple rounds to get to breakthrough answers that will lead to positive solutions.