Organizational Leadership: A business is the sum of its people

Now this may seem like an obvious statement but employees are the most valuable resource to any organizational leadership team. However, when times get tough – like in an economic downturn – I would argue that the stress and strains on an administration can leave employees either lost in the shuffle, or scrutinized for productivity. The focus becomes a “new business” or “revenue generation” approach rather than building and effectively/efficiently using the talent at hand.

I could give numerous examples of executives leading companies through times of evolution and change where the prevailing mood became one of fear and avoiding calamity rather than on optimizing potential. I liken this approach to the human body’s “fight or flight” response to stress – where the brain screams at the body to take action. This can be effective for a human escaping pursuit by a wild animal, however under sustained fear, fighting or flight, the body breaks down. While initially many executives may feel that their company will be inspired by a battle cry atmosphere, what happens is similar to what occurs in the human body… the short-term benefits are heavily outweighed by the long-term consequences. Ultimately, organizations that rely (or fall back) on this strategy find that staff burn out, employees become suspicious and or paranoid about leadership, allegiances are formed (or torn), and ultimately the environment pushes out – and often repels – staff from the organization altogether.

One argument I’ve heard is that staff attrition is a good thing. “Hey, if they don’t want to be here we are better off without them.” However, many organizations find that they throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater – because they lose talented individuals with potential alongside anyone who is a non-performer. Not to mention that there should be mechanisms in place to weed out non-performers long before it’s a dire question of need. And if they are savvy non-performers they may be the employees who are retained. Yikes! Therefore, the losses compound the initial problems of an organizational rebound with a deteriorating atmosphere, lost talent, and stretched or strained resources.

Back to my original premiss; personnel is the most valuable – and expensive – commodity for any organization. Hiring and training the wrong individual (depending on position level) has been estimated to cost organizations anywhere from $250k to $800k by the time the individual is excused or departs. Now, aside from the very large corporations, most businesses can’t afford that level of loss for a single position – let alone multiple departures or large-scale downsizing.

So how does the business move ahead? An optimal work environment is one that: 1) Treats employees as a valuable priority, 2) Discovers ways to maximize each employee’s potential and motivation, 3) Demonstrates the principle that how employees are treated is how customers and partners are expected to be treated by employees, 4) Values individual, group, and corporate wellness at every level of the organization, and 5) Creates pathways for employees to use their potential to continue professional growth and development alongside the organization.

Now think about your organization. On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the best at valuing, supporting, and retaining employees) where does your org land? What would it take to get from where you think you currently are to a 10? If you don’t know – or know and could use some assistance in getting there – give us a call!



When we started Prosperity Coaching & Consultation our mission was clear: As Psychologists with years of corporate experience we provide assistance to organizations by helping them: 1) Manage their evolution through change, 2) Hire competent executives with potential, 3) Retain valuable employees, 4) Limit the expenses incurred by losing staff while maximize employee potential and motivation, and 5) Develop a sustainable, solid core business built on the people… yes, the people at the heart of the company. For more information on organizational leadership, drop me a message:, or give me a call @ 720.612.0244