How's Your Transfer Portal?


How’s your transfer portal doing these days? No, not Alabama, Auburn, or LSU, your business transfer portal. As a business coach and lifetime Alabama fan, I am struck by how few business owners see the parallels between the transfer portal and their team’s competitiveness.


2022 seems like the year of unexpected turnover. Most of my time has been spent working on employee issues:

· Do I keep Joe?

· Do I fire Ken?

· I am shorthanded, but Sue is a pot stirrer.

· If I don’t pay them more, they may leave.


Colleges like Alabama and coaches like Nick Saban face this every year, and yet somehow, they continue to enjoy success. Pre-portal, 20-25% of their team turns over, and coordinators (VPs) or coaches (Mgrs.) leave almost every year. The portal means that even more players can leave. They can even move to their fiercest competitor. Compare this to one or two people leaving that creates a business crisis or an endless series of meetings, texts, and phone calls.


The answer is all about perspective and outlook. When someone leaves an organization, the organization must answer one question: Is this a problem or an opportunity? The answer determines everything.


Most businesses see turnover from a problem mindset. How can we reduce or eliminate it? Yet, turnover is constant and inevitable. People retire, quit, and leave every day. Yet when someone leaves before the company says it’s ok to leave, they react as if the business will suffer dramatically.


Contrast business with college football. Players enter the portal, and you do not hear coaches saying, “We are going to have a lousy year thanks to Bubba All Star heading to Playoff U.” College programs answer the question with an opportunity mindset. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO UPGRADE MY TEAM. They go into full “brand ambassador” mode and sell the reason their organization will use the situation to become more competitive and stronger. Bruce Pearl sold the Auburn brand to Walker Kessler. If a 4-star leaves, that leaves room for a 5-star. Can you say Jameson Williams without saying Roll Tide?


The portal door has two sides. Does yours say EXIT or ENTRANCE? The answer may well determine your record in 2022.


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