When people leave an organization those left behind bear the burden of the departure, but except in rare instances, the organization carries on despite the vacancies. I liken this to a Jenga tower.

Even with pieces (people) missing, the essence of the structure remains. The tower is resilient and can handle a few holes, but when this occurs all actions require significantly more time and effort to be executed. The more pieces missing, the higher the stress level.

Some pieces can be removed without impact, but others are key pieces that create great instability for what remains. Neither Jenga or an organization has unlimited capacity to absorb departures, and at a given point, the tower will fall. It’s much easier in the game than in reality to pick up the pieces and rebuild, but some organizational leaders act as if there is no distinction.

If you have staff vacancies, Jenga can be a useful analogy to help the continuing staff to put the departures into perspective. With a piece or two missing, the situation isn’t as dire as it may first seem. But Jenga can also help you as a leader to remember that the overall situation becomes more precarious with each piece that is removed.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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