What High Rates Of Employee Turnover Say About A Business
The White House may not be technically a business, but it is a functioning entity that has many of the same parallels of a business, including a pyramid of leadership, accountability (in theory anyway), employment, performance reviews, etc. In light of the continued revolving door of White House cabinet and staff leaving as quickly as they are coming, most recently with the firing of Rex Tillerson (which occurred ironically after The Freedom Press recently posted an article in his support); as a small business owner employing a staff of 12, through extensive leadership training and experience, I have a practiced perspective on what it means for a business to have a high rate of turnover.
Poorly Defined Pyramid of Leadership
In a proper pyramid of leadership, only a small number of individuals relative to the staff represent the visionary’s leadership team. The visionary may be the sole proprietor, president, CEO, or in the case of the White House, the President of the United States. The visionary expresses his vision to his leadership team which then helps the team come to consensus through respectful debate. Once a clear and well defined policy or process is agreed upon, it is put in writing for the members of the leadership team to then communicate to their subordinates, and so on. With a clearly defined policy or process in writing, each level of leadership is held accountable to playing their role in executing stated policy or process.
In the Trump White House, this very basic leadership structure is nonexistent. Trump’s cabinet and staff are often messaging one particular policy goal, then the president verbally blurts out out or tweets (sometimes in real time) something else entirely, commonly even using disparaging language toward the person articulating the policy.
A poorly established leadership pyramid leads to inconsistent communication, a team with multiple conflicting goals, and contradictory messaging, conflict, and chaos.
On-boarding refers to the acquisition of talent to work for the business to fulfill its mission. This begins with marketing open positions to the type of people the visionary desires for his/her team, vetting candidates, then coaching them effectively as they acclimate to their new position and establish expectations. Failure to engage in comprehensive on-boarding leads to team members that may not be the right fit for a given position or for the organization as a whole. Even if a person is theoretically a good fit, poor coaching and training will nonetheless lead to an employee who is ill prepared to fulfill the duties he/she was hired for.
The Trump cabinet and White House staff are filled with many positions that were the result of nepotism and the spoils system instead of real qualifications. Look no further than Education Secretary Betsy Devos as evidence, a person with no education credentials and is in fact utterly clueless about education; which was frighteningly on display for all to see in her recent 60 Minutes interview. Her main qualification was generous donations to the Trump campaign. We need not elaborate on the reason Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were hired with zero government experience.
Ineffective on-boarding leads to ineffective employees due to being the wrong fit for a given position, not having been properly transitioned and trained into a position, or are simply grossly incompetent because they lack any real qualifications for a job.
No Clearly Defined Road Map
A businesses’s road map contains in writing its mission, core values, short term goals, long term goals, and speed bumps (current impediments to achieving goals). The entire team in the pyramid of leadership is mandated to work and perform in line with an organization’s core values in order to accomplish its mission and overcome speed bumps to achieve its goals. Grounds for termination are easily identified by an employee failing to represent a business’s core values repeatedly. Thus, when a high profile cabinet member like Gary Cohn or Rex Tillerson is terminated, there are clear and defined reasons why and speculation is not necessary.
Most administrations at least start the first couple of years in power with a clearly defined road map. For Barack Obama, it was stimulus to reverse a failing economy, financial reform to prevent another financial crisis born of unchecked greed, and health care reform in the face of an increasingly broken health care system. Whether one may agree or disagree on the aforementioned policy achievements, no one can argue that Obama’s first term was not only laser focused on these goals, but successfully got them done.
Outside of trying to attack and undo all things Obama, Trump really has no clear road map. He takes one position on Monday and before his cabinet members, staffers, and pundits can begin to promote or defend it, his position may change by Tuesday and if not then, most certainly before the end of the week. Trump is not even aware what his own core values are.
Conflict and Chaos
Donald Trump is a man that has answered to no one in his life and surrounded himself with yes people that enabled him and stroked his ego. In his numerous business failures, he has manipulated the bankruptcy and tax system, shielding him from the true consequences that most experience when they accept no advice from anyone, fail to accept the humility that they are not often right, and subsequently continues to fail without reflection
Donald Trump is the living embodiment of the complete antithesis of the basic tenants of business and organizational traction as described above. This man would not last as a CEO of any corporation or even the manager of a fast food restaurant for that matter, yet we must endure the frightening reality that he remains the leader of the the most powerful nation in the world.