It’s your style? What’s your substance?

I thought the People Development world had finally woken up to the fact that Style is certainly subordinate to Substance. Too bad, I happened to come across more than a few conversations, posts and the like within the last few days, all about trying to entice a discouraged staff member who was wanting to quit to stay on. Being posted to another Department? Having a new supervisor or manager? Posting to a sister company? One would have thought that, given the current viral environment, people would be glad to be able to hold on to a job, but no, their styles get mussed, people don’t understand them, they’re not confident about being able to handle the new job or project or another person’s sales accounts, ad nauseum

Get this. You might not have the perceived “right” style to be a sales person or project manager or digital marketer, but you’d better have the right substance and be willing to at least take a shot at something new even if you don’t think you’ll be world-class doing it. You managers and HR people need to get your act together and stop salivating like some K-9s of yore whenever the topic of someone’s “style” comes up. Does that person have substance? If he does, we can work around the style or he can certainly adapt. Styles are preferences, they are not cast in stone, and people are certainly not made of stone. If the person doesn’t have substance, style doesn’t matter, because then that person is going to shame the Stylistics regardless of what work or which Department he happens to get posted to. If a speech writer is urgently needed for the Boss, it helps to have a few people on hand who might not be fantastic speech writers, but who are willing and probably able to step up and take a swing at it.

Remember this. People who quit and whine about their not being the “right fit” for the job or task or project or to be on the team don’t have “issues” with their own or someone else’s “styles”. They need to work on their substance, and they certainly need to be coached and maybe given some training as well. Know what to do now?

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