How To Survive Leadership Turnover

Leadership turnover is inevitable in a growing/entrepreneurial company. In fact, approximately 80% of companies that implement EOS® experience a leadership team change within the first few years of their implementation. It’s a natural outcome as the priorities and roles within the company gain laser focus.

The EOS Process™ helps build a cohesive leadership team by creating an environment of deep accountability and trust. But not all leaders are willing or ready for this path. The breakthroughs can be intense and cause discomfort for those who aren’t on board.

Some Common Reasons for Turnover

  • Organizational Growth: Companies that adopt EOS are typically growing quickly. EOS shines a light on the challenges/barriers associated with this growth and will inevitably smoke out weaknesses in the organization. Some people are simply not ready or capable to take on these challenges, which can eventually lead to a departure.
  • Pushing Personal Growth: EOS drives members of leadership teams to grow and become strong leaders and managers. This can be difficult for some who may be more comfortable with “doing” rather than leading or managing others. Again, this can lead to a departure.
  • The Seats Get Bigger: The Accountability Chart provides a clear depiction of all the functions (seats) in the organization. And sometimes the seats get bigger than the capabilities of the current owner. This also may lead to a departure or perhaps a shift to another seat.

Turnover at the top level can be unnerving, but it is easier to swallow when you recognize that it is a natural evolution of building a great organization.

Expect the Unexpected

Recently, a key member of a client leadership team abruptly left to go to a competitor. It stunned and angered several members of the team. But eventually they recognized he really wasn’t the best fit culturally and that his departure was actually the right result. He just recognized it before they did. They are currently in the process of finding his replacement and are encouraged by the pool of talent they are seeing. They know it’s going to work out!

5 Tips to Prepare for Leadership Turnover

Tip #1: Identify and document all your Core Processes. This is key in preparing for a departure. It reinforces the strength, stability and resilience of the organization, especially when a key member of the team departs.

Tip #2: Hold regular Level 10 Meetings™ and continue to add issues to the Issues List. This helps keep the entire leadership team in the loop with timely/relevant issues that may need attention when a key member departs.

Tip #3: Maintain a strong network of trusted colleagues and advisors. It’s good to have a sounding board outside your company. Trusted mentors/advisors can help you gain a broader perspective.

Tip #4: Be ready to jump into the seat. It’s helpful to know who will temporarily own a key seat before it’s vacated. This helps provide peace of mind and confidence that you can handle a sudden departure.

Tip #5: Don’t panic. Maybe this should have been Tip #1, but hopefully now you can see there’s no need to panic. Companies that run on EOS have a knack of bouncing back quickly because they are prepared.

Remember that changes in the leadership team are normal, healthy, and a sign that your organization is evolving. Embrace the change!

Next Steps

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