What is it about human nature that when something newer comes along, we tend to abandon our older toys or belongings in favor of the newer, shinier toy? It would be okay if this was limited to inanimate objects, but this behavior is most egregiously displayed between people. Sophocles paints a much more eloquent picture of this phenomenon in his play Women of Trachis writing “the eyes of men love to pluck the blossoms, from the faded flowers they turn away.” How is that we’re so quick to turn on those that have been loyal in favor of people that are new to our lives or our organization? And does it have to be this way?
The obvious, but not so easy answer is that it doesn’t have to be this way. If we learned anything from the movie Toy Story, and I think we all did, it is that the new and old can co-exist peacefully and productively. When a new person comes into our organization or lives, we want them to feel integrated and a part of the team. In hiring a new person, it is important to hire someone that can integrate into your team as this will alleviate many potential problems.
In the corporate world, solving this issue comes down to leadership. Leaders can integrate new members into the team making them feel important without neglecting or negating the accomplishments of existing team members. One easy to do this is by highlighting the special skillsets and expertise each team member brings to the table and while clearly defining each party’s role in the organization. This will help ensure new team members can integrate into the team without causing existing team members to think their being replaced.
In our personal lives, the onus is on us to make sure we do not neglect our friendships. Life gets busy and relationships evolve, but we can always make time to nurture our friendships be it a call, a text, a Facebook message just to say hi. There may be finite room in your house to store stuff, but there is no cap on many people we can have in our lives.