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Accelerated Talent Development #13: Facing 4 Profound Realities

by Kevin Robert Crone

September 22, 2014

Vera Asanin, president and publisher of Your Workplace, drove home a new reality for me this week. She convinced me that life has truly changed in four profound ways and if we don’t adapt at lightning speed, we quite likely will become a last century country with declining population and prosperity.

Sitting next to the giant US market has always made us a bit nervous. On one hand, we’re a gateway and a great ally supplying them with: energy, wood, minerals, food, and water. On the other hand, they drain our best talents and our entrepreneurial focused capital.

We survived the US downturn better than they did and are starting to recover quite nicely. Our diverse population and strong banking rules helped save the day. But now our Canadian economy is faced with its own set of challenges that are so significant they will rock us to the core and transform us forever.

The way we handle these “four profound realities” will determine our future for the next fifty years.



  • Demographics – over the next ten years, more than 50% of our workforce will retire or be forced out because they cannot adapt fast enough. Critically for every two people leaving only one will replace them. This will shrink the workforce needed for our current productivity levels. With a growing and aging retired population, consumer demand will drop, and an ever greater financial or tax burden will be put on those still working.

Our birth rate cannot even keep up with these declining workforce numbers and certainly cannot keep up with the GDP we need them to generate. If we do not grow, the financial demands on our workforce will be crippling. Our population is holding but the percentage going into the workforce is less than half of what is exiting. Enormous adaptation and resources will be necessitated to bring the new Millennials and new immigrants productively into the mix.

  • Globalization – Outsourcing and Global Competition. Our favored solution of the moment is to outsource the repetitive or low-added value work to another country or to a technology including: automated communication, computer modelling, a myriad of cell phone apps and now smart robots able to work 24/7 with lower error rates than humans. This will change our workplace needs and strategies, possibly even its basic purpose. We’ll have given up the manual part of production. At one time, 30% of our workforce worked on the land, today it is 3%. Can the future hold the same fate for manufacturing? The whole world is adapting to this challenge and to prosper, we need to adapt faster and smarter than other countries that are competing for the same resources, markets, and brain power.

We have no choice but to harness and leverage our collective well educated diverse population in new ways that will enable them to excel in ways we have not yet imagined. We are in a position to win or fail. It is up to us.

  • Technology – Technology is changing at a rapidly accelerating rate. We’ve all read the numbers. Smart cars, smart trucks and smart railways are just the start. Nothing will be the same in the future. Our workers and institutions will need to adapt at hyper-speed and be able to: communicate, manage projects, innovate and motivate people inside and outside of their company – globally. Technology enables speed only if we can harness it to work for our advantage in a single global economy.
  • Unhappy stressed out workers – Aon Hewitt, Blessing White, Dale Carnegie and Gallup have all conducted research on this issue. In an average company, only 33% of employees are fully engaged and 67% are fully or partially disengaged. The effect on these companies is devastating.

Companies with fully engaged employees are 202% more effective, return 22% more to their shareholders, and are 12% more profitable. Engaged employees are 57% more effective and 87% less likely to leave the company. The typical cost of turnover is between 48% and 67% of an employee’s annual salary and more than 100%, if an actively disengaged employee stays in the company.

Even more critically, this sets up a downward spiral. Stressed, unhappy or disengaged workers lead to increased absenteeism and increased mental health problems. This reduces productivity, which in turn leads to higher insurance rates and more stress. This in turn leads to more layoffs and more stress.

These are four profound realities and if we fail to come to grips with them, we will be gone. We cannot kick this can down the road. We cannot bury our head in the sand.

We need to create an environment where people are motivated and keen to come to work, anxious to find new innovations and feeling good about the community they give themselves to every day.

To hear Vera in her own words click here.

The “Millennials” whether they come from within or outside of Canada are the new workplace reality. They are motivated differently, communicate differently and form loyalties differently. They also innovate and buy differently. If our organizations, that were born in the past, don’t adapt to this new reality, they will not exist. Change is the only alternative.

If you want to improve your team’s performance or your own leadership skills, give me a call at 905-826-7300 x 328 and we can chat.

If you would like to hear the Insights of Canada’s top leaders in Talent Development click here and every two weeks we will send you their insights in their own words.

If you would like to save $100 on the upcoming Your Workplace event: October 28th and 29th click here and use the code DAL100. I would love to see you there (Disclosure: I’m one of their featured speakers)!

Best Success!


Kevin R. CronePresident,  Dale Carnegie Training®

Founder of Accelerated Talent Development, Performance and Profits.

Contact me at 905-826-7300 x 328 or krcrone@dalecarnegie.ca

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