One of my old commanders in the military taught me this sage advice: “sometimes you just need to call the baby ugly.” In the face of the new business landscape caused by the Great Resignation and the critical need to bring new talent into companies, what do you need to start with to make an impact on the situation? Separating the facts from the interpretation is a way to begin to deal powerfully with what we are confronted with in life, even when you wish the truth was better-looking.

I was a Pararescueman in the USAF for 9 years and my job was to provide Combat Search and Rescue services to our brothers-in-arms downrange and also in civilian search and rescue situations. I was once in Alaska (Living Up To Their Motto) responding to a patient that had fallen down the side of a mountain in the middle of winter. Thankfully, he hit a tree halfway down that kept him from falling the rest of the way, but had broken a half dozen ribs in the process.

The entire situation was an ugly baby and we needed to be able to see and deal with the facts of the matter before we could make any successful outcome. It was below freezing temperatures, there were power lines very close to where we were to be hoisted down from the helicopter and the terrain was not going to be easy (downright dangerous) to work on. Once the facts of the matter were seen, my rescue team started planning on the steps needed to mitigate as much risk as possible. As in any high-stakes venture, getting to the facts of the situation is the starting place if you want to make the biggest impact on the situation.

The past 24 months of the Great Resignation and now the trending concept of “Quiet Quitting,” are causing business leaders to confront their “tried and true” talent strategies. Business leaders hoping, wishing, or praying the circumstances were better-looking leaves little space for any sort of breakthrough. If you cannot stop yourself from focusing on how you want life to be, what you should have, or what you want in your bank account, you will lose the opportunity to make a powerful impact on producing remarkable results.

In what wilderness do you find yourself in need of a breakthrough? It might be your failing talent strategy, global supply chain issues, or even the burnout from Zoom meetings all day. The old ways of working will likely never go back 100% to what they were before. As business leaders, it will be imperative to focus on the facts when making decisions on how to move forward. Separate the facts from the interpretations, call the baby ugly, then mobilize and inspire action.

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