The termination of Victoria Taylor set off a firestorm among community members at the popular online forum, Reddit. Users began protesting Taylor’s termination first with an online petition calling for the interim CEO’s resignation followed by her actual resignation all the while the company continues to be the conversation among mainstream media. The media firestorm ignited because an employee that was extremely popular and valuable to the online community was terminated and no information was shared with the community.
In retrospect, the company should have graciously provided Taylor a termination package allowing for her to exit gracefully, peacefully and allow the community members to adapt to the change. Unfortunately, Reddit didn’t understand the importance or power of Taylor. You probably don’t know who is a trust agent or linchpin for your own company.
How do organizational leaders figure out who their change agents, trust agents and important employees are? Not each trust agent holds a senior leadership position. Where do we find out who these people are so that we can plan for their exit, the potential backlash and other organizational challenges appropriately?