Gold Dust

One of my favourite meetings recently was with Alan Loader (Publisher) and Sara Yirrell (Editor) of CRN magazine, part of the IncisiveMedia group. The conversation could easily have continued all afternoon. We talked about the speed at which technology is dictating how we do business, how education will remain the single biggest differentiator regardless of change and that the best people are becoming more elusive.

Alan coined a great term in human gold dust– how it is becoming harder to find good people and more importantly to retain them, to motivate them to stay. Surveys tell us the same thing over and over, that it isn’t always about more money. If somebody is fundamentally not happy doing their job, a few thousand pounds will not change those feelings and 3 months down the line, you will be back in the same position. My earliest blog posts talked about a formula, a magic blend of rapidly changing technology plus talented people equalling tomorrow’s great companies. This is the here and now.

Furthermore, Seth Godin asked, “Do we have to pander” [to people, to customers]? Should we trade our reputations for a short-term boost of awareness or profits? He argues that if we want to build a reputation that lasts, to be the voice that some (not all) in the market seek out, you must resist short-term greed and build something that matters. The same applies with our people. Don’t compromise just to fill a position. Look for the best, give them the bandwidth to be creative and spend a percentage of their time on crazy new ideas, and let them be exceptional. Let them use the technology at their disposal to promote your product or service from every conceivable angle, as long as what they do ties into a central theme for your business.

I think you will find they will flourish, and stay.


  1. Matthew – I think the most progressive organisations (and subsequently, the most successful) realise that money alone is not a motivator. Unfortunately, for the majority of organisations I see, they simply haven’t the patience or inclination to nurture the type of culture which engages the best employees. Short-term thinking wins.

    Let’s hope as time goes by, more organisations realise the benefits of engaging great (not just adequate or good) employees over the long term!

  2. Taking care of people requires a different set of skills than running a business, though you need both sets of skills to successfully move forward. It can be a little counterintuitive, but it’s important to have enough of the people skills around because as you say, you can’t always throw money at someone to make things better.

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