Get Fired Up



Highly Performing Employees: Why They Leave, and what can Leaders do about it?

Yes, we tend to think that organizations will remain functional regardless if one or more of the employees decide to leave, even if that individual is one of the highest performers, and it’s true. Organizations do continue functioning. I mean, we don’t see Apple’s stocks sink if one of their technical support team members who happens to be working somewhere in Asia or Africa or even the States for that matter decides to leave, right? Well, it depends. Imagine this, what happens if this employee leaves behind a gap that the organization doesn’t fill good enough, soon enough, and before we know it, other high performers start leaving as well!

No doubt a repel effect at one point will be noticed, eventually customers may start searching for an alternative, something that many businesses would hate to see.

Now, take this case and apply it at higher levels in the organization, where someone at headquarters drops the ball and leaves, what happens? We know, firefighting begins to mitigate the impact resulting from that person leaving, quickly searching for the best fit replacement at that point in time, a decision that may not necessarily be the best given the circumstances, even if there’s a proper career path planning in place and the successors are already known for higher ranking leadership positions, the fact that a highly performing employee departs, certainly has it’s after shock impact!

Not a fun position many organizations like to be in.

Let’s stop here for a minute and think, why do highly performing employees leave in the first place? Is it about their wages, compensations or benefits that make them decide to move on with their lives away from the organization?

Here are some scenarios as to why highly performing employees leave:

1. Stephanie decided to leave her position as Customer Experience Specialist when she realized that her vision for the business is not the same as her manager’s. She felt lonely, and not participating in building something beautiful (the unit), she felt she’s running a long marathon all on her own.

Stephanie took the decision when she realized that her focus is on making a long-term difference, and found out that her management is focused on the transaction rather than the long-term impact of the transaction!

She thinks there’s no more room for her to grow where she is now, and wants to look for a place she can to grow elsewhere.

What to do about this? Do you change the organization’s vision to satisfy Stephanie’s view of how things should be? Do you just accept what she suggests for the business?

You might want to consider some of the following best practices to help Stephanie:

– First listen to Stephanie’s ideas, thoughts and suggestions about what, how and why things should be different. When leaders give themselves a chance to listen to what goes in their employees’ minds they are become clearer about what the situation really is and how to best deal with it.

– Clarify how Stephanie’s vision can, or may not be accommodate at this point in time. Help her see, with you, what can be done now, and what can be planned for the future if any. Let’s not forget that a lot of the time it’s all about self actualization rather than the actual idea its self.

– Help her see and feel that she’s contributing to the organization’s vision and long-term planning of the department’s goals and vision by appropriately delegating some business planning activities. See how she does. If job well done then start adding some responsibilities in line with your level of authority to help prepare her for the next level. If job not done well, then coach and work with her to develop help skills in specific areas she needs more help with.

2. Alan is leaving he’s role as the Head of Regional Demand Management Division at one of North America’s fastest growing Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing companies. He thinks he is cared for less, than he cares for the business!

He feels he’s less appreciated in the workplace, and believes that he may mean more to other organizations.

Alan is not enjoying the game any more because he’s less challenged than the old days.

What do you suggest as the best approach to handle Alan’s case?

I’ve see leaders who handled such cases and others really well. In Alan’s case, one might want to clarify in the first place, why does Alan think he’s is less cared for, while he cares more for the business, and what does he mean by that. Gathering intelligent insights around why would an employee think so, is crucial for continuing the relationship and taking it to the next level.

It could be that the employee has mastered a skill set and got to level that he doesn’t feel is challenging any more and that there might be very little room for improvement for him.

It could that the employee is someone who likes and is motivated by change and variety, and now his job is more of routine than any thing else.

Clearly understanding how the employee thinks, what goes in his mind, and who he is a person, is key for creating a motivating environment that would not only keep performers in the organization, but actually keep them excited and motivated about what they do and keep them interested in giving more.

Sad reality is, highly performing employees don’t just leave. They are intelligent. They wait, weight their options and opportunities, then take the right move for them, leaving the organization in some kind of a limbo situation sometimes.

When highly performing employees decide to stay in a work environment that doesn’t recognize their contributions, challenges their intelligence, and helps then bring out the best in them, and helps them grow at different levels, they choose to be less, do less, and eventually leave.

During the process, their productivity might decline, and more importantly, other potential high performers lose their drive to bring about the best in them. At the same time, low performers would look at the situation and say something like: “you see, it’s no point to work as hard, just work enough to keep your job, because by end of the day, no one really cares and appreciates what you do”. Nothing can more destructive than this to any organization.

That’s when we need human leadership that drives business success and results through people.

Of the best and most effective approaches I’ve come across are the ones when organizations have a deliberate leadership in place that is vigilant of employees and their needs and knows how to take care of them so that they take care of customers.

Great leadership understands that the best investment to drive innovation and business sustainability is the one made to develop Human Capital.

What do you think leaders of today and the future need to do more of, to retain, and develop high performers?

The 5 Step-Success Formula

Have you ever wondered what do highly performing and successful achievers do to make them the success they are? Is it luck? Is it genes, or may be their circumstances? Exactly what makes them who they are? What do they do differently from the rest of the crowd, that makes them score at such exceptional levels?

What’s their secret recipe?

Reading their bios, following their actions, and by carefully studying their behaviours and way of thinking, it appears that they all have something in common. They seem to follow a certain path, a formula that not only gets them what they want, but keeps breeding high results.

Carefully examining how they do things, you’ll find that in the majority of cases, they use an ever reviving template, a system that consistently produces magnificent results.

In essence, success is duplicable! Yes, success is ongoing, and repeatable when you use this secret formula.

Here’s how it works:

1. Explore where you are right now, your current state, and clearly define where you stand from where you want to be. Write down the “what” and “why” of where you are from what you want to achieve.

2. Decide on what you desire to achieve, and why it is important for you to get there. Then, decide on what you want to do about your current state to move ahead towards your goal. Make concrete, conscious decisions about where you want to go, and find that vigorous “why” for you to move to your direction.

3. Act concisely, purposefully, and consistently with full force ahead towards achieving your aim. Take actions that drive you forward, and eliminate road blocks, limitations and shoe stoppers that pull you back in the opposite direction. Act less, more, i,e; consistently take small steps forward more frequently, instead of trying to make giant leaps occasionally. Build the habit of moving ahead, one small step at a time, until you perfect each action at a higher precision that others find hard to copy.

4. Evaluate your results. Ask: Are you there yet? Is this really what you want? Could it be done better? Could it be perfected? Can I do it “1mm” better?

Keep refining your results, and keep raising the bar.

5. Adjust your actions to further come closer to your goal, and compete with yourself to exceed your own expectations. Push yourself one step more, and further expand your reach beyond your comfort zone to score higher than what you originally aimed for, and act accordingly.

In my study and observation of highly successful people, I found it quite interesting how they breakthrough and strike a remarkable success, that many others can’t. Yet, it is more fascinating to see how the exceptionally successful performers replicate their success time and time again, as they keep surprising themselves and the world with their achievements. They are consistently successful, that they reach a whole new level of success; that is Excellence.

Excellence is the manifestation of ever evolving stories of success, one after another, one story at a time.


About the Author:

For over 15 years, and continuing, Sam’s passion has been in working with organizations and professionals to help them “Outperform”, deliver exceptional performance and sustainable results in their endeavours.

Sam had the privilege to be consulted by, and advise clients in a range of industries, including financial, pharmaceutical, banking, telecommunications, higher education, consumer goods, automobile, retail, health care, high tech, and manufacturing.

Sam designed and authored Cantactics Exceptional Performance Excellence model (Ce-PEx ©), a simple, yet effective and applicable strategic approach model to performance improvement, excellence & transformation, through which Sam helps businesses and professionals boost their productivity and excel.

Wesam (Sam) Halwani is the founder of Cantactics World Inc, a leading global management consulting firm, specializing in performance excellence and Talent development. For more information on what we do at Cantactics World, please visit us here:

Leadership is in the Emotions

Think about a time when you last enjoyed working with a leader at work, in your community, or even at home, how did working with that leader influence your productivity? How did the way that leader interacted with you impact your ability to produce skyrocketing results? For you, did things change at a pace otherwise they wouldn’t have! What did he/she do? You must remember something that person said, or did that helped you bring about that best in you. What was it?

When learning about leadership and leadership development, authors, writers and thinkers in the field of Leadership Development write about successful world leaders describing their “Leadership Characteristics”, what they do, how they think and behave.

Studying the field, you’ll find that Leadership is about a set of thinking systems based on rationally-emotional decisions, behaviours and actions that are meant to cause a certain impact.

This is why we see a number of organizations try involving and engaging their employees through various programs, that hopefully would positively influence employees and encourage them to continuously do more, longer. It is that emotional part of the equation that is believed to make people do what they do.

If it’s Transformational, Situational, Servant or any other type or leadership style, it all boils down to how leaders think, behave and act with coworkers and others in certain situations, either face to face or remotely, that will influence and inspire people to take a desired action.

Having worked with leaders from different cultures in different industries over the years, I’ve found that the following are of the greatest characteristics, behaviours and actions leaders do to achieve exceptional results with their teams:

Leadership is to

People are not willing to consistently keep doing what they do, when they don’t trust their leadership teams! They may do what they are told to do out of fear, but little will they sustain delivering exceptionally high results as a result of fear of losing their job!

On the contrary, people will go out of their way when they know, and see that their work is recognized and appreciated.

I’ve learned that people wouldn’t give you the best of their ideas and la crème of their knowledge and hard work if they don’t see you, the leader, giving them the support, respect, and encouragement they deserve when they do something right.

Employees need their leaders to reach out, and be available and accessible when they are needed most. They look up at the leaders for their vision, for their ability to influence change and drive results. They want leaders that create a motivating environment, not a traumatizing nightmare; they want leaders who will inspire, encourage and genuinely value employees for who they are and what they can do.

Genuine leaders enable and empower employees, and find ways to help them align their actions towards clearly defined goals. They find creative ways to share their vision with others, and embed it in the workplace and organizational culture that it becomes everyone’s’ vision to adopt and execute across the organization.

Leadership is about positively affecting others to move from one point to another, to embrace change and cause a difference that benefits others, not only own-self, at different fronts.

Can you think of other Leadership Characteristics, behaviours and actions, that you personally encountered and made a difference in your professional life?

I’ll be happy to hear more from you here.


About the Author:

For over 15 years, and continuing, Sam’s passion has been in working with organizations and professionals to help them “Outperform”, deliver exceptional performance and sustainable results in their endeavours.

Sam had the privilege to be consulted by, and advise clients in a range of industries, including financial, pharmaceutical, banking, telecommunications, higher education, consumer goods, automobile, retail, health care, high tech, and manufacturing.

Sam designed and authored Cantactics Exceptional Performance Excellence model (Ce-PEx ©), a simple, yet effective and applicable strategic approach model to performance improvement, excellence & transformation, through which Sam helps businesses and professionals boost their productivity and excel.

Wesam (Sam) Halwani is the founder of Cantactics World Inc, a leading global management consulting firm, specializing in performance excellence and Talent development. For more information on what we at Cantactics World, please visit us here:

The Not so Good, Bad and Ugly about the Canadian job market gap


We often hear about filling the gap in the Canadian job market, and the Canadian businesses shortages for qualified candidates to fill the gap. In fact, a great deal of our immigration system depends on making immigrating to Canada possible for qualified skilled workers carrying industry specific skills and work experience, under the skilled workers category.

Yet, we tend to have quite a gap in unemployment rates between new Canadians and Canadian born and educated workers. According to data Statistics Canada crunched for Global News, 14 per cent of university-educated immigrants who’ve come to Canada in the last five years are without a job – more than their counterparts with a post-secondary certificate or high-school diploma.

Only 3.3 per cent of Canadian-born university grads, on the other hand, are unemployed, as are 5.6 per cent of university-educated immigrants who’ve been in Canada a decade or more.

Of course, these numbers don’t count the thousands of newcomers who find work, but not in their field. These under-employed immigrants cost the economy billions annually, economists have estimated: Their skills go under-exploited, their economic potential unreached (they also often take the entry-level positions many younger or less-educated Canadians would otherwise need)!

With the current state of the economy the way it is, one asks then: Why is the unemployment gap at such high rates? If we end up with such high unemployment rates and gap, do we need to bring in more new Canadians after all? If we do, and we know, from historical data, that it will them sometime before they join the work force in jobs they were approved to immigrate to Canada to fill, if at all, because they end up working in jobs to pay their bills, where other Canadians may be better fit to fill, why then open the door for such skilled worker category?

Many questions surround what I like to call “the Canadian job market gap mystery”.

I understand that it may take some time for professionals in the medical field, and in other regulated professions as well, to enter the job market because they are required by law to get their credentials accredited by the appropriate bodies in Canada. But what about business professionals who come to Canada with valuable years of hands on experience at international level? Why it takes them what may seem forever to land a job in their fields of practice, or fields where they can utilize their transferable skills.

Here’s my take on the subject. For our economy to flourish and to compete at a global level, something we need to seriously consider before we are taken by other nations that are already competing and wining a big pie of doing business internationally, it is absolutely necessary to adopt a new way of thinking about doing business. To grow our economy, we need to go beyond the borders, attract and serve new customers in other economies.

One way to make the job easier is to tap in to the untapped talent pool of the IEPs, internationally educated professionals, who bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise that makes it easier for the Canadian businesses to speak with customers at the other side of the fence. Even if your business doesn’t operate internationally, hiring internal expertise in your business will help you adopt new approach to doing business that may further distinguish yours from the competition. Think about creativity and innovation in your business, the answer to your “next big thing” in your business may be right next to you, locked in the head of one of the unemployed professionals who may be out of job.

In my opinion, and from experience working both internationally and in the Canadian marketplace, part of the challenge lays in the head of the recruiter, business owner and in the approach when considering hiring new employees.

Many businesses tend to follow a “template”, a box if you well, to hire new employees in their business. In a nutshell, the hiring formula boils down to following criteria:

You’ve graduated from a local college or university.

You have worked in the local market, and bring relevant working experience locally

More importantly, you understand the organization’s work culture, products, services, customers, and working dynamics.

With these requirements, you would expect very little professionals who worked internationally to meet!

I believe that our Canadian economy is stronger than what it seems to be, and carries huge potential for greater performance both nationally and on the international stage.

Canadian businesses and organizations can adopt a new strategy of actively integrating internationally educated professionals in the Canadian workforce by working closely with the government to smoothly engage new comers in the job market. On the other hand, the Government needs to do more by not only creating “immigrant services programs” that teach new comers resume’ writing and job search strategies, but as well creating a motivating environment for organizations in need for skilled workers to encourage them attract, train and retain skilled workers in the job market.

Creating incentive programs for organizations to help them tap in to the hidden potential of internationally educated professionals, is one way that may encourage local businesses take that one extra step of actively attracting new Canadians in to the marketplace. Organizations, in collaboration with concerned Government agencies, may as well create programs that well equip IEPs and launch them on a journey of longstanding career success in their new home.

You may read more about the statistics of unemployment rates from the Globe and Mail here:

Happy to hear your thoughts here.