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Tuesday, 27 March 2012 09:41

Why Top Talent Leaves: Top 10 Reasons Boiled Down to 1

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Why Top Talent Leaves: Top 10 Reasons Boiled Down to 1” by Erika Andersen, Contributor, appeared on on Jan. 18, 2012. My comments, which were called-out by the author appear at the bottom of this page.

Eric Jackson, a fellow Forbes blogger I follow and find both funny and astute, wrote a really spot-on post last month about why top talent leaves large corporations. He offered ten reasons, all of which I agreed with – and all of which I’ve seen played out again and again, over the course of 25 years of coaching and consulting. The post was wildly popular – over 1.5 million views at this writing.

So why do we find this topic so interesting? I suspect it’s because we’re genuinely curious: What would make a very senior executive – someone who most certainly has been courted by his or her organization and then paid huge sums of money to join – decide to pack it in? Is it greed (an even richer offer down the street)? Hubris? Short attention span? Or do 1%ers actually leave jobs for the same reasons as the average Joe or Josie?

According to Jackson (and, again, I agree with him) top talent does indeed leave for the same reasons everyone else does. If I were to distill his ‘top ten reasons’ down to one, it’s this: Top talent leave an organization when they’re badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring.

About half of Eric’s ten reasons are about poor people management – either systemically, as in poor performance feedback, or individually, as in, my boss sucks. And the other half are about organizational lameness: shifting priorities, no vision, close-mindedness.

It really is that simple. Not easy, mind you, but remarkably simple. If you want to keep your best people:

1) Create an organization where those who manage others are hired for their ability to manage well, supported to get even better at managing, and held accountable and rewarded for doing so.

2) Then be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization – not only in terms of financial goals, but in a more three-dimensional way. What’s your purpose; what do you aspire to bring to the world? What kind of a culture do you want to create in order to do that? What will the organization look, feel and sound like if you’re embodying that mission and culture? How will you measure success? And then, once you’ve clarified your hoped-for future, consistently focus on keeping that vision top of mind and working together to achieve it.

I’ve worked with client organizations that do those two things, and people stay and thrive. I’ve worked with and observed client organizations that don’t – and it’s a revolving door. And that’s true at all levels – not just for “top talent.”

It’s fascinating to me: Why don’t more CEOs and their teams make sure these two things happen in their organizations? What do you think?

My comment to this article is below:

 Called-Out Comment Alert. Your comment was called out!  ” You are so right. I’m a small business employer. In the last 20 years I have hired over 1,000 employees. Of those, less than 20 were terminated for cause and only 2 left to take another job. Why? Because a CEO, if he/she is truly a leader, must lead and manage by example. Most do not. They care far more for their image than the organization as a whole. The CEO’s image does not grow an organization. Her vision, communication and buy-in of that vision by the ranks and leadership does.

Most employees do not know what the team stands for and do not care for its leader, because he never bothered to tell them. When that happens the good and capable people, the very people that any organization would want to retain, leave for better options. Those who are left behind are the “rubber stamps” the people who would just execute and do not think. CEO’s or heads of an organizations that surround themselves with such individuals are on a collision course with their destiny, but as ignorance would have it, they are the last ones to know it. Management, much like Parenting is leading by example.

This is precisely the subject of the book “CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood” co-authored by Persephone Efessiou and me, which examines common business and management principles and applies them to parenting. After all, it is my own personal story of raising my daughter from the age of 7 to adulthood as a single dad, relying or little other than my business knowledge. The results exceeded my wildest dreams.

The bottom line is, if you 1. Lead by Example and with Logic and Compassion 2. Mean what you Say and Say what you Mean, and 3. Treat everyone with, and Earn your people’s Respect and Loyalty, you would have created a family (either at work or at home) that everyone associated with it could not help but feel as a contributing and productive team member. And that is a place where people want to Enter……Not Exit. “

This is my opinion. It worked for me and it can work for you. You just have to try it!


Chris Efessiou

About Chris Efessiou:  Chris Efessiou is an entrepreneur, business leader, educator, mentor, international speaker, radio show host, and best-selling author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood  based on his own experience from raising his daughter as a single dad by applying his business knowledge to the business of parenting.  Listen to Chris’s weekly Radio Show Straight Up With Chris:  Real Talk on Business and Parenthood on Voice America Radio.  You may connect with Chris on Facebook, follow on Twitter and visit

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