The Unreasonable Men

Or What’s The Catch with Retention Rates?

Hey, kid! Yeah, you, Unreasonable Man!

You, who just watched The NewsRoom and discovered an entirely different way to scale the world. You, who just opened your eyes to a shockingly altered reality. You, who have yet to learn how to let that inner whisper shout without it being too much. You, who chose to see life as a means to enjoy and get satisfaction.

Want an absolute? I feel generous today.

But before proving my generosity, let’s set up…

The context

At one point in my AIESEC volunteering experience, when I was part of the National Team of Trainers, one of our main FAs (focus areas) was…

Increasing Retention Rates through qualitative, standardized Training Programs. Or something like that.

I remember that even in my local committee, AIESEC Constanta, we’d pass a lot of people through the first interview into our induction program. And that said something about both our selection and induction programs.

Secondly, most of the people who got in after the induction program would quit after the first 2–3 months. These were people in which we had invested at least 6 months worth of effort, time and material resources to get them here.

Despite all those resources invested, these guys were missing out on the organizational essence — that of leadership and our exchange program. And this said something about both the Induction & Onboarding programs. Again.

So, our main question was Why do we lose people? and our main challenge that of Retaining Talent. Through my experience with the organization, I only managed to answer the first question.

But, that was a not-for-profit organization. Today, the frame’s a bit different.

First off, we have The Insider — the regular Joe climbing up corporate ladder — the employee.

On the other side of the window, we’ve got The Outsider — the regular Jack alluded to buy something online — the customer.

And in the midst of it all, here’s The Unreasonable Man who can be either one, but chooses to do and be much more than just part of the flock(s).

The Walk-Through

  1. I’ll first depict the In- & Outsiders’ journeys. This is where you could look back and check if you see the same patterns.
  2. Then, I’ll state the absolute I’ve promised. This is where you’ll understand how I percieve the Retention Glitch.
  3. We’ll discover this Unreasonable Man, who wants to solve the retention challenge. This is where I hope you’ll be having a priceless A-ha moment. (No, this part is not sponsored by MasterCard) But it’s okay if you don’t.
  4. At the end, I leave you in the company of a beautiful… question.

The Insider

Largely, this is how we’re “flowing” through organizational structures across our careers, isn’t it?

Deli’s HR Methodology
  1. First, you find out about the company — get INTROduced, get to know the outsides, the visibles. Say you’re learning of Twitter for the first time. Someone tells you it’s a social network. You start using it, get the hang of it and are amazed. They have an opening. Of which you find out from Twitter itself. You apply. You go through your toughest selection process and then…
  2. After your first happy end, you get onboard. This means you’re going through this (TIP) Twitter Induction Program they have for newbies. There, you get to know some of the insides. (Yes, they have cookies. No, they’re not for you. They’re for the guests. Jeez.) TIP over.
  3. During the TIP, without you being aware of it, the TPs (Twitter People) had closely assessed you. They now know exactly where to fit you in. (Like a glove. A white one.) You’re a team player now. So, naturally, you work your ass off day-in-day-out. No life, no family, no nothing. Just Twitter. #JT4L (Just Twitter For Life)
  4. When you eventually do things right due to practicing them over and over, they give you The Key. The kind of key that lets you out of your office and into the matrix. Like a key to the city or something. Wink. It’s a statement. You’re one of the TPs, now. Wink.
  5. You’ve figured out everything there was to figure out. What next, you wonder? Well, you suddenly remember that before the Twitter Journey you had a self and a voice. Backed up by experience, your 2.0 version, starts identifying TGs (Twitter Glitches) and fixing them, doing the right things.

Simple as that. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?

P.S.: This is NOT the actual Twitter process. Just used it as a pamphlet to add smiles to a rather dull and logical process. The pretty cool acronyms (TIP, TPs, #JT4L and TGs) are also from my imagination.

The Outsider

But, wait! Where have you seen this before? Pause.

Remember HubSpot’s Inbound Methodology? No way!

HubSopot’s Inbound Methodology

Yes, way!

Now, say we’re eShop owners.

  1. At first, customers are not yet customers. (You, don’t say…) They’re strangers. But we’re on a mission to attract the right kind of traffic to our website, right? So, this is where we set up Buyer Personas and start marketing towards them. (Great tip on this — Ask “What are they going to use my product for?”) When we’ve convinced them we’re cool and sparked that innocent flair of “Oh, what does this button do?”, they’ll visit us.
  2. As visitors, they surf our site, skim through the products, compare us to others, etc. But one of the most important aspects for (today’s digital) marketers at this point is getting their e-mail. To do that freely, they offer something in exchange. Usually, it’s eBooks or a Study Case or White Papers. This guy argues here on how people prefer coffees over your eBooks because they don’t trust you with their time yet. I agree with that. (Great tip on this — Build visual trust. Ask “Who (or what) is visually trustworthy?” Model that. Side joke: I’m sure British researchers have already documented this. Becuase Britain doesn’t only have talent.)
  3. Done! Kudos! Having their e-mail addresses means two things: a) (nonFB) status change — they’ve just become leads and b) we’re able to feed them relevant information, tools etc. to furtherly support them in making a decision regarding OUR products. Via e-mail. (Great tip on this — Ask: “Is this the only way?” Think of a mix of means. Wink.)
  4. And then, there comes a time in each lead’s miserable life (Their life is not miserable; it was just for dramatic effect. Got’cha!)when they grab the bull by the horns and complete the purchase. Ta-daaaaaam. Angels sing Halleluiah! They’ve just become customers. You’re so proud. There’s even a tear in your shop owner eye. No, the left one. (Great tip on this — Immediately start a new conversation with them. On a different medium. Ask: “How can I show gratitude?”)
  5. But the journey doesn’t end here. We’re taking even more care of our customers. We’ve worked hard for them. Being promoters doesn’t come as a job to them. But as a “Thank You” note for solving their problem. They get to share with the world about how cool that company is and silently walk them through the same process you’ve just packed in.

Yup, in my experience, all walks were closely the same.

As for the main characters, I’ve chosen the two — insider as a worker and outsider as a customer — simply because they’re the two roles we step in most often. Not because they’re the only ones. Certainly, not because they’re the only ones.

HR. Marketing. The young Jedi’s journey of becoming. Life.

Essentially, they’re all built on the same ascensional backbone. In my opinion, at least. And, as shown in the charts above, journeys of all sorts have progressive stages. “Progressive” being the keyword here. Or was it “stages”? Hmm…

So, where do these two (the in- and outsiders’ journies) converge? Luckily, to my absolute. Smile.

For starters, remember the retention rate challenge I mentioned earlier?

Sure, but what does it have to do with these two guys, you might wonder… “Might” being the keyword here…

Well, this article right here clearly explains: A Bain&Company study says that, in an eShop, if you increase customer retention rates by 5% you will increase your profits by at least 25%!

Oh. This means that one of the overlooked hacks to increasing profits (in eShops, at least) is retaining your customers.

Did this just rang a bell? Wheels are starting to spin, cause you can feel where I’m going with it, don’t you?

The Catch about Retention is that…

I believe that one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned in HR — and not just HR, but in the random existential truths and BSs of every day — is that…

… you lose people between the stages.

When, after the first months of onboarding, your employees decide you’re not a good fit, after all, and head to another company.

EreMedia: One-third of new hires quit their job after about six (6) months.

Or when they’re supposed to apply/get promoted for a Leadership position after they’ve figured out how everything works in your company, but they’re being head hunted by your competitors.

When you welcome-mat visitors into the leads room, but they just keep on scrolling.

Sarah Peterson The average opt-in rate for a Welcome Mat was 1.76%. (between Jan 4th — Feb 4th 2015)

Or when you send them that personalized discount offer via e-mail to close them as customers and they don’t click.

GetResponse: E-commerce sees a rate of 16.82% opened eMails and 2.48% click-throughs. (Just to make sure we’re on the same page, here, that’s 2 in 100)

Or, when in a hurry to become friends with someone who’s not yet ready, you might lose acquaintance and the contact altogether.

Or when you ask her to move in and she sais “No strings attached, remember?”

Or when you’re moving to a new place and realize the true difficulty stands in the actual moving, not the living itself. For relocating abroad there are documents and bureaucracy, money to accommodate, making sense of cultural norms, etc. that take a toll on you. For changing flats, it’s the hurdle with cleaning up the old place, transporting a life worth of items, cleaning up the new place, etc.

Once you’re all settled in, you start looking for comfort.

You lose people — or yourself, for that matter — when guiding them — or yourself — to leap from one phase to another.

You lose people — or yourself — when they — or you — are just about to grow.

Not while in the game. Not during the level. When on this board, people are still and focused on stability.

Once we choose, passion or resignation lead, the new reality takes us over. As a friend put it here, once we pick something and let go of our freedom to decide in that matter, we get trapped in the new context.

There, in the new frame, the general tendency is to become trees and grow roots and have fruits that other people help themselves to. By the way, trees don’t move, they toss.

See, the real hustle is about the changes between the laps.

Captain Obvious once said that change was our only constant. I cannot stress this enough: the real haste is about graduating from one stage to another.

Ok, so what do I do with this?

Well, one thing you DON’T do is to reason with it. No matter your context…

You figure out your stages.

And your betweens.

And create smoother transitions.

All progress depends on The Unreasonable Man

I mean, isn’t this what The Unreasonable Man does?

By all means, let me explain.

We know OUR stages. Remember the Insider and Outsider guys?

We know the betweens. We’ve most probably been there ourselves. Oh, you’ve never quit right before shit got better? Ma’ bad, then.

So, let’s raise the mirror and see what’s stopping us from progressing.

Generally, you’re just afraid. Me too. We all are. We’re all reluctant to change. Indifferent of the object of our altering. We’re afraid to shift drastically. To turn 180. To vary. To transcend and transform. To improve. To sacrifice good for great.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Marianne Williamson

Because roots and fruits and tossing.

So, thank Goodness for The Unreasonable Men!

The Unreasonable Men give us permission, not orders. They give us permission to raise up to our potential. They allow us to dream bigger and live with conviction. They favor our shine. They showcase progress and marching into grandeur.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself.
Thus, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw

The Unreasonable Men bridge us with evolution. They make it easy for their people to grow from one stage to another.

Holding on to making a difference, they seem unreasonable in their perfect blend of ego and faith. Thus, they give US the reason.

The Unreasonable Men create environments to smooth our transitions.

They create safe contexts. So we can trust the change. So we can feel safe to grow. I’m not the first to say this. Simon Sinek already did.


Upon looking through past experiences and resonating with what was said above, upon identifying phases and their midways, upon searching inside your soul…

Even from the beginning, throughout this entire post, I have pointed out how the Unreasonable Man is a separate category. I did that on purpose.

The truth is, he’s not.

We’re all Unreasonable in a way, in a certain matter, in regard to what we truly believe in. The only thing is, we need to look for him and invite him to step up from time to time. More often than not. For, indeed, progress belongs to the Unreasonable Man.

Is The Unreasonable Man in you showing up?

— — —

I believe I’m called to unfold the Unreasonable… me. I believe we’re all summoned for that.

I like to believe that it’s up to me to create the contexts where people feel safe to shine and become great. Because I decided long ago that this existence is not about me. But about what we can do together to make this world a better place.

And by that, I mean a safer, kinder and authentic place. A place where we act out of care and from perspective rather than perception. A place which does not force you into living by its norms. But celebrates your genuine “could be”s. A place where we’re inspired to be grand. Together.

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