Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Readers Write... The Attrition Plan Doom Loop - Part 1

In response to the 2/27/15 post, “The Attrition Plan Doom Loop,” some LYS campus and district leaders write:


Thank you for this insightful post. I have found this to be true in the districts I have worked in.



Outstanding post! I really appreciate your insight.  It also makes me rethink some recent leadership decisions in a different light.

SC Response
Again, on paper the logic of an attrition plan works.  Pare down the budget by not replacing staff that leave.  Be in charge long enough and nearly every budget manager will use this strategy.  And in the short run, the effect on the organization can be neutral, or when the stars align, positive. 

My warning is based on a district that is using attrition as a long-term strategy to meet budget parameters. Because in the long run, attrition plans can create and/or accelerate a doom loop.  A doom loop is when a superficial solution undermines the foundations of the organization. 

Schools are learning organizations and the foundation of a learning organization is high capacity brainpower.  When a school begins to implement an attrition plan, it quickly begin to lose its most experienced brains (due to retirement) and its most capable brains (due to promotions and other options available to the most capable).  Since the school is not replacing those who leave, in a short time it is manned by a staff with less experience and less capability.  This significantly compromises the school's ability to adapt and perform at an acceptable level.  In other words, the school enters into a self-inflicted doom loop.

What this means to district/school leaders is this: If you are considering implementing an attrition plan, find a better solution.

Think. Work. Achieve.
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