Thursday, September 13, 2007

Flaws in the brain drain theory of talent

I hope the Enron scandal challenges a prevalent assumption in this society. People assume that they must pay enormous salaries to attract high quality professionals for their top jobs. Administrator pay raises are often justified by the fear that the talent will go elsewhere. This is the so called "brain drain" argument. One must ask if Enron's high paid executives were really the cream of the crop? Were they the best personnel, when it comes to talent and ethics?

Enron's mess may be an extreme example, but I am not impressed with the quality of leadership in many American corporations and government agencies. Besides greed and corruption, there is also lots of poor planning.

Maybe an organization would be better off if it held the line on executive salaries. When leaders threaten to leave, it could be seen as a good thing. It is an opportunity to bring new talent and fresh ideas to the top. Some of America's best people can even be found in the volunteer sector. Money isn't the only motivation.

*Today's flurry of posts comes from reorganizing other parts of my site.

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