Guest Post: Empty Seats

Today’s post was penned by our friend, Becky Robinson.  Becky current works for Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris who are today launching a new book called, From Bud to Boss.  She was brave enough to share a post with us knowing we are likely to respond to it (and perhaps even disagree at times).  We share the post because Becky poses some good questions to think about and discuss.

Empty Seats

It’s not enough to fill the seats on the bus.

But if you’ve ever worked in an organization in which key positions remained unfilled, you know the strain those empty seats can cause.

When seats are empty, it is very difficult to maintain your organization’s previous level of service, quality, or output.

We might make excuses: We’re shorthanded here. I’m doing two jobs right now, so… This is a time of transition for our department. We’re catching up to our growth.

When positions are open or leaders make plans for expansion, they make sure they have talented people in place before they start new initiatives or move forward.

Leaving those important seats empty can be costly to the health of the organization. Of course, hiring and training new employees is also a time-consuming and expensive process, so it is important to fill positions thoughtfully, ensuring a proper fit between the person and the position.

Here are some questions to consider during personnel transitions:

How will you reorganize your department to ensure that critical tasks are completed?

How will this transition effect other team members? Your customers?

What can you do to minimize negative consequences for your team? For your customers?

What effect do those empty seats have on your organization’s ability to fulfill your mission? To the bottom line?

Leaders cultivate talent within their organizations with a plan of succession for key positions so to ease the strain of personnel transitions. Also, leaders communicate with their team about how responsibilities will be shared during transitions.

How does your organization handle personnel transitions?

What other factors are important for leaders with organizations in transition?

This post originally appeared at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted here with permission. Becky Robinson, the blogger who wrote it, is currently working with Kevin Eikenbery and Guy Harris to launch their book, From Bud to Boss. For more information about  the book, visit

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