Planning For The Unexpected

Recently, there were three unexpected deaths of a senior executive: Canaccord Genuity CEO, Paul Reynolds, Survey Monkey CEO, David Sandberg and American Express President, Ed Gilligan. Each of these organizations is now faced with considerable change, first and foremost with loss and grieving.

Generally, when we speak about change management and organizational development the context is planned change initiatives. Many conversations and decisions will have been made about endings and beginnings — reengineered processes, new products, and new structures. And then life happens and an organization can find itself thrown into change through potentially very tragic circumstances. What to do when there is no plan?

The effects of these deaths will be far reaching from potential financial market impacts to the individual impact for members of the firm. The individual losses can include a confused sense of confidence about the direction and future of the organization (the rudderless ship) and, roles aside, these three individuals were also friends to many in their organizations. For those who have lost a friend, the grief can be consuming.

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