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The Price Organisations Pay for People Being Lost

Kilimanjaro Lesson #8


When people don't know where they are in relation to their goals, they get frustrated and impatient.


We started the hike at 12:30 a.m. We had a rough estimated time for the summit, but it was up in the air because of the speed, which I had no control over. We kept walking in the dark, and out of nowhere, I felt frustrated. I was thinking, where on earth am I on this mountain? How far did we come? How long have we been hiking? What is the altitude? How long do we still have to go? .......


I could not place myself anywhere. So I went like this: "Where the hell am I? Can somebody tell me the altitude?"


The guide said 6800m. I thought about it for a minute, but this info did not satisfy my wondering mind. So I said, "Someone tell me what time it is." My guide said 4 a.m., to which Abdul replied, "One hour to sunrise, let's go."


That "one hour to sunrise" was a lifesaver. I knew my goal and how far it was. It was definite. 1 hour because nobody can change the sunrise time. I felt good and back to normal.


Walking in the dark, unable to place myself for over three hours, got me unsettled.


This happens in organisations, too, when people don't know where they are in relation to their career goals, so they make decisions based on the lack of info and leave. Many people leave not because they are unhappy but because they don't know where they stand with us in terms of their career development.


Another group is when people don't have any goals in life and aimlessly go from one job to another. People with goals are more stable. But this is where organisations make a mistake.

People not having goals in their lives impacts organisations' turnover rate, which they desperately try to fix with engagement activities when the "fault" is not even with the organisation.


People are disoriented because they are just there to pay the bills (we all have to), but apart from that, they have no clear direction or goal.


This is a problem because it causes most symptoms organisations struggle with engagement, turnover, productivity, loyalty, lack of creative involvement, and maintaining the status quo.

It gets worse, neuroscience and psychology know that when we don't have goals or know where we stand in relation to our goals, all sorts of alarm signals go off in our brains, causing anxiety and panic attacks. This is the body's natural and well-functioning system to warn us to stop and see where we are heading because we lost direction. But we ignore it and medicate the symptoms so we can continue wandering around numb and aimlessly.


Designing talent processes to show where people are in relation to their goals could save organisations from a lot of turnover. If you need help with it let us know.


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