Skip to main content

Cadres Decide Everything!

About a month or so ago I've glanced through a very interesting article in the Bloomberg Businessweek magazine that talked about SAS, the world's largest privately held software company, and its success in keeping employee turnover rate down to 2.6 percent (in 2010). Compare this to the info-tech industry's average of 22 percent and you will see a monumental scale of this achievement. I find it interesting that SAS doesn't make a big fuss out of the results of its sound retention strategy by flashing it across the website or having it enshrined within corporate motto (like so many IT consulting companies do). Instead, SAS keeps focusing on its core strengths of business intelligence and analytics, but with a clear understanding that every business is, first and foremost, a human endeavor (at least for now); and from that point of view - human capital is priceless.

The bottom line - SAS may sound dusty (conceived in 1966, incorporated in 1976) and may not bring to mind cool and trendy associations (like Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Apple do), but people sure do like working there. And as far as SAS human capital strategy goes, this is not an overnight success - the company has been on the "100 Best Companies To Work For" list for some time now, most recently (in 2010) as #1.

Why keeping your workforce happy and retaining smart, dedicated, able people is so important? (now more than ever) Well, the answer should be quite intuitive, but take a look at another Businessweek article that talks about the "Talent Poaching Epidemic". I am certain, you will get a drift.

Still not sure? Want to know more about the future trends? Well, I would let people who are much more in-tune with this subject provide answers. Here are a few quotes from the book I've recently read "Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative" by Ken Robinson:

"The labor markets of the 21st century are changing beyond all recognition"
"The most important resources of all companies are now the ideas and creative capacities of the workforce"
"Organizations are fighting a war for talent, according to recent studies by Andersen Consulting and the Institute of Management"
"In the United States, the revenues of headhunting firms have grown twice as fast as GDP during the past five years" 
"We ask where can we find talented people but we ignore the talents of people that surround us"
"The problem with the short-term [human capital] model is that it does nothing to prevent the exodus of the rest - those whose talents are undeveloped. It assumes a world with an unlimited supply of talent, talent that does not mind working in businesses where development is not deemed a priority. Fighting the talent war with the outside world is covering up our failure in terms of people development" - Javier Bajer (The Talent Foundation)
"Organizations that make the most of their people find that their people make the most of them"
So, the more I think about it the more old Stalin's dictum holds true - Кадры решают все | Cadres Decide Everything. And they do!

To clarify - Stalin did treat cadres, i.e. people, as replaceable cogs in a State apparatus, killing them by the thousands; he might have been inspired by another Russian saying (supposedly, regarding many people who perished during the construction of St. Petersburg) - а народу в России как песку, немерено | and the people in Russia as the sand, immeasurable.


  1. Glad to see you're still writing, Andrew! Keep up the good work!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Alan Mathison Turing

Update (11/23/2013): " Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon." ( ) Long overdue!!! With academic background in applied mathematics and computer science and years of experience in Information Technology it would be incredibly surprising if I didn't know of Alan Turing, or so I thought. Sure, I knew who he was and had a good idea of what he had contributed to the fields of mathematics, logic, cryptography, and of course computer science, which he basically founded; and things like Turing Machine, Turing Test, and Enigma Code-breaking have been widely popularized. I also knew that he died relatively young, but I am ashamed to admit that I didn't know anything about the circumstances surrounding his premature death. That is until I read the following in the book titled  "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood" by James Gleick: "Turing's hom

Ten Dirty Little Secrets You Should Know About Working In IT

I like a good "xyz ten" list (where xyz = top, best, worst, ...) as much as the other guy. And though I admit that the notion is, in most cases, rather shallow (oversimplification <> clear and concise delivery of a message) it often makes for an uplifting (funny) read. Here's one: IT pros frequently use jargon to confuse nontechnical business managers and hide the fact that they screwed up Some IT professionals deploy technologies that do more to consolidate their own power than to help the business Veteran IT professionals are often the biggest roadblock to implementing new technologies You’ll spend far more time babysitting old technologies than implementing new ones Vendors and consultants will take all the credit when things work well and will blame you when things go wrong Your nontechnical co-workers will use you as personal tech support for their home PCs Certifications won’t always help you become a better technologist, but they can help you land a b

Spring (or summer) cleaning

Today I have decided to do something that was long overdue - clean up computer stuff that sort of built up over the years. I should have done it long time ago. After all, I haven't used most of it in years, but the idea of parting with it just did not sit right with me. There were definitely a lot of nostalgic feelings and a thought, in the back of my mind, that one day I might need it. Well, the needing it part was discarded quite easily (when you look below you will see why) and as far as nostalgia goes I found a compromise - I would photograph the items before discarding them. So, here we go.   First a few communications items. Like the 56Kbps modem, ISDN router, and satellite modem (once used with Dish Network/StarBand service).  Ascend Pipeline 75 router (ISDN): Gilat satellite modem (the dish is still up on the roof): Modem (56Kbps): Then a trip down the storage technology memory lane: Iomega Zip (100MB) and Jaz (1GB) drives and cartridges:     And how about what on