Another (football) manager loses their job not in itself news worthy unless of course it's related to some bizarre or scandalous behaviour like banning mayonnaise or banging the physio's wife on the half way line. In football managers get the sack because of poor results, the temper tantrums, personality quirks and indiscretions only emerge afterwards. It's much the same with very senior managers in the public sector. A bullying management style, an affair with the deputy or an abuse of the company credit card can all be ignored if the organisation is performing well. Neither a critical inspection report nor a mutinous senior management team inevitably result in the sack. Or so we all use to think.
The harsh financial climate has seen an increase in what HR consultants call the “no fault “dismissal. The organisations performance has not suffered a dramatic dip, a major budget hole has not been uncovered and the Sunday papers are not planning to highlight some damaging personal indiscretion. The board/cabinet just fancied a change, someone who shared their ambitions for the organisation, someone with a high profile who would give the organisation a national profile, someone with an impressive track record or just someone new who was "their” appointment.
To be fair the high flyers and the highly ambitious can't really complain as they have always put their career before loyalty to an organisation, a chair or a senior management. The trend is to hit the ground running make big changes quickly and move on to the next bigger and better job. Promotion is not within an organisation, that's to slow 18 months and they are looking round. This is good business for the head hunters, the more movement the more demand for their services.
The difference now is that public sector organisations don't expect or want chief executives to stick around.
The tenure of a chief executive is short and getting shorter. The modern chief executive is transformer but not a consolidator which prompts the question who is going to build up the relationships and develop the levels of trust necessary to shape a shared vision and a common set of priorities across agencies and partnerships?
Blair McPherson author of Equipping managers for an uncertain future published by Russell House www.blairmcpherson.co.uk