One of the questions leaders need to ask when they are losing an employee is how they will feel if he or she goes to work for a competitor. If the employee isn’t good enough for their own organization, they should be pleased if a competitor is stupid enough to hire that person. This does not seem to be the case with American Express and Al Kelly.
Don’t worry about the no loss people. But you do care about the people that will be a loss. Some will leave. Even if they are strong performers, if it’s not right for them, at some point they will lose heart. You’ll have to let them go. But know what’s happening with them and help them through the transition on their timing and their terms. Others will notice and appreciate what you did.
But don’t lose the people you don’t want to lose and don’t have to lose. We’ll never know if American Express could have created a different internal path for Kelly. Today, they probably wish they had.