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Why Top Talent Leaves
June 2012

Eric Jackson, a Forbes blogger wrote a post earlier this year about why top talent leaves large corporations. He offered ten reasons as to why 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 based on receiving a better offer? Pride? Boredom? Or do "A" players actually leave jobs for the same reasons as the average Joe or Jane?

According to Jackson, top talent does typically leave for the same reasons everyone else does. But, his top ten reasons can be boiled down to one simple one and it's this:

Top talent leaves when they're badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring.

About half of Johnson's ten reasons are about poor people management – either systemically, as in poor performance feedback, or individually, as in, my boss is a problem. And the other half are about organizational deficiencies: shifting priorities, no vision, closed-mindedness.

If you want to keep your best people:

  • Create an organization where those who manage others are hired for their ability to manage well, supported to get even better at doing it, and held accountable and rewarded accordingly.

  • Be clear about the organization's mission – not just in terms of financial goals, but in a more three-dimensional way. What's your purpose? What kind of a culture do you want to create? What will the organization look, feel and sound like if you're embodying that mission and culture? How is success measured? 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.