What Can Be Changed
In the years leading up to World War II, the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a prayer poem that would become far more popular than he could ever have anticipated. It opens by asking a divine power for “grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” This nugget has been taken to heart by all manner of self-help seekers, but it can also be read as sound advice for people running businesses. There will always be things that an individual CEO cannot change. Macroeconomic forces, for example, are outside the scope of what a company can directly affect. As editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan notes on page 26, the size and quality of the available hiring pool for any business depends on national policies on immigration and education.
We spent a lot of time exploring that, and its manifold implications, because this issue is devoted to how you can find the best team possible. The State of Hiring 2018 package opened by Buchanan’s essay spotlights the new and creative ways in which companies are finding workers in a tight labor economy—from looking at populations outside the traditional workforce to tapping talent all around the globe.
Of course, once you’ve landed all your dream employees, your next task is retaining all that talent. Inc.’ s annual Best Workplaces survey ( page 74) is filled with companies that have shown the courage to change what should be changed to keep their workers happy and engaged. One increasingly popular example is offering employees unlimited paid time off. This concept was all but unheard of a decade ago, yet is now offered by 30 percent of the nearly 2,000 workplaces that took our survey.
The secret to changing what needs to be changed in business, then, is leadership. If you build and maintain the right team, you’ll find that the scope of what can’t be changed is much smaller than you thought.
The #MeToo movement has created some far-reaching conversations about women in the workplace, especially when it comes to the wage gap. On pages 56 and 58, Inc. columnist Helaine Olen illustrates the degree of the problem, and highlights what smart companies are doing to change the equation.