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When a senior leader quits, the effects on the organization can be dramatic. The direct financial cost is one thing. However, the cost of lost opportunities, disruption to key relationships and the potential for knock-on loss of team members, can be even greater.
The published literature surrounding executive turnover has been extensively analyzed by Joseph Rosse, PhD., from the University of Colorado, Boulder. His paper is titled ‘Leadership Retention Literature Review.’
Executive turnover is a critical problem that strikes even the highest flying, successful companies. While they are two of the most successful companies of all-time, Amazon and Google rank #2 and #4 respectively on Payscale’s list of companies with the shortest tenure.
Rosse notes that opinion leaders in HR have long called for a better understanding of how to retain CEOs and other top executives, due to concern about churn in the executive suite impairing organizational effectiveness.
In the introduction to his report, Rosse states “… it is evident from a review of the literature that turnover of top leaders can be very costly, not only in terms of direct costs, but particularly in terms of disruptions of the status quo.
“One foundational conclusion is that concerns about leadership succession should be addressed in terms of an overall talent management program rather than in more narrow terms of executive retention.“
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