Employment Turnover – Good, Bad and Necessary

Last week, I interviewed a construction manager who previously worked on a Trump Organization project.  This organization ought not to be confused with “The Trump Group” developers, who have no relation to our sitting President or to his family.

Like other Trump alumni I have interviewed over the years, this construction manager’s sentiments were overwhelmingly positive.  And like the others, though not related to the same project or time frame, he commented about how it was one of the best experiences of his career.  When this construction manager was asked why, he went on to share how President Trump himself asked for his opinion on multiple occasions, and how the president always followed up his question by asking “Why?”  He further relayed how his opinion, if backed up with facts, was signed off on by Trump even if persons close to him, including family, shared a different approach.  The determining factor for President Trump was whether an opinion could be supported with facts.

The media loves to talk about changes in the President’s administration, and candidates love to ask companies in interviews about stability and turnover. If you are an employer and don’t have any turnover, is that good or bad?  I know my companies have experienced a good share of turn-over.  Looking back, I have found that in many cases, we are where we are today by learning the hard way that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

The leaders of the organizations who do not have a way to ensure that certain behaviors will not adversely affect others within the organization to make the best decisions, may be told what I was told by my CEO coaches. He said my employees needed me to hold them accountable to hold others accountable.  The below chart shows that difference.



Get the work done at the time they’ve committed to Get work done on their own schedule
Know who’s responsible for each part of the work Get confused about responsibility and process
Understand how their contributions support team goals Don’t know how their work relates to the big picture
Agree to goals, priorities, and deadlines with their team Keep goals private or don’t set goals
Own responsibility for a specific area of the organization Expect responsibility to belong to only a few people at the top
Can contribute their full talents Contribute at a fraction of what they are capable of

To ensure we make more good hires than bad hires, we now do several things at our company.

Firstly, we have a weekly AHOD meeting. “All Hands- on Deck,” less than one hour per week, bringing all employees together to review our core values, our broad goals for the week, our wins and losses, and a time of study. As part of that, we are now just finishing the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Secondly, we have a breakdown of the leadership team’s key areas of responsibility within the company.  This allows me as the CEO to quickly identify the leader responsible for a particular subject.  We also have a weekly leadership team meeting and a project list for items related to working on or in the business, that involve coordination between multiple segments of our company, such as a software conversion, or a new service or program being offered. The leadership team decides who runs with it when there may be overlap.

Thirdly, we created an accountability board, which started in an excel spreadsheet, and is now on a “Monday” Board.   This breaks down the key responsibilities in our company, and states who is primarily and secondarily responsible for fulfilling them.  In addition, it lists who is responsible for checking to make sure it was done.  That person is responsible to hold the people completing the task accountable for completing the task in line with the vision of the leadership team of the company.

We have also implemented QTP’s (Quarterly Touch Points), which are meetings lasting less than an hour quarterly where the leaders identify areas a team member may have excelled at, or may need training or behavioral coaching for improvement.

You may be asking, what does this have to do with making sure we make better hires? 

The more my existing team understands the mission, vision, core values and expectations for the company under my leadership, not only can I identify if they are on board with delivering the company vision, but they can identify if others who want to join our company have the knowledge, attitude and aptitude to deliver the same.  When we are ready to make a hire, we have a platform for discussion as to why or why not that person might be right or wrong at this time.  In discussing that, we look beyond their skillset and likeability.

All employees who are new to a company need to know why and how something is done before making changes. If a President or CEO of an organization has challenges with any leader under them not buying into the vision set forth, then the leader himself is “failing forward” by keeping onboard an employee rowing in the wrong direction.  Moving a country or a company forward requires everyone in the boat to row in the same direction, or eventually the leader will find his boat in unchartered waters.  The only way for a leader to row forward in the straightest line possible is to do it with others rowing in the same direction with buy-in.

Patrick Lencioni explains it best:

Nobody in leadership, especially a President or CEO, likes to see turnover.  What makes one a good CEO or leader is recognizing that while people are out of their control, letting people control them is not.

It’s time to look at turnover as being like when your children become adults. When they choose to continue living with you or return to living with you, they are in your household operation.  Adult employees choose where they work.  In either case it is not a hostage situation, but it is one that require buy-in quickly and professionally.

To Good Turnover and Launching well,

Suzanne Breistol


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