The EU referendum – should we stay or should we go?

15 June 2016

I’m old enough to remember The Clash’s punk rock hit ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’. It was quite similar to the EU referendum debate. Quite shouty.

Of course, I have my own view on what the answer should be, but over the last few months I’ve spent more time working with senior leaders who are deciding for themselves whether they should stay or go.

It’s a real privilege to work through with someone how they are going to leave their organisation well. It’s a great opportunity for a leader to think about legacy: how they are going to put everything in place to secure a smooth transition, and how to demonstrate their generous and inclusive leadership qualities.

It usually takes at least a year to plan well. I’m always keen that people create their leaving narrative carefully. For those of an age, no talk of retirement – just an exciting new chapter. For others who have done what they can in one company, perhaps it’s a chance to hand over the baton and stretch their leadership capabilities in a new setting.

This isn’t spin; it’s a genuine working through of a narrative that demonstrates to their staff and stakeholders that all is, and will be, well. It’s a transition, not a drama. Ultimately, I think the best leaders are the ones most skilled at ‘managing the drama out’ of people coming and going, other forms of organisational change, and those integral diversity and inclusion issues that affect us every day.