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Read the article,

The High Cost of Doing Nothing

by Ken Blanchard article and then please address the following questions related to the article. Your Case Analysis Paper should provide a cohesive narrative fully addressing the questions and recapping the relevant data and findings from the article. Please include the Case Analysis questions in your narrative (you can cut and paste them from below). You should include citations to the source article throughout your paper and in a References page on the last page of your paper. In-text citations should be in the format (The Ken Blanchard Companies, 2009) or (The Ken Blanchard Companies, 2009, p. X) when you have a quote in your sentence. You do not need to identify and include any additional references beyond the source article for this Case Analysis paper.

Please use APA format for this case analysis as outlined in the APA Format Template provided. Also remember that you should aim for a 1,000 word minimum for Case Study assignments, as these are comprehensive assignments than the Leadership Reflection Questions (750 word minimum).

Quantitative Data Summary:

Summarize the quantitative data presented in the article by recapping in a cohesive narrative the many numbers and statistics on the impact of both poor and sound leadership on the various elements of a business. There are over 20 data elements provided and you should cover at least half of them, preferably more.

Analysis & Implications of Leadership:

Provide your analysis of these statistical data and your summary of the implications of both poor and sound leadership on an organization. Be sure that you cover the impacts of leadership on productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee retention, as these are major elements of the article.

Key Success Factors & Leadership Practices:

Identify and discuss the key success factors and successful leadership practices presented in the article, such as strategic and operational leadership, providing employees with the necessary tools and resources, and eliminating barriers.

Outcomes of Improved Leadership:

Discuss the consequences and outcomes of improved leadership (through leadership training) for employees, customers and the financial results of the organization.

The High Cost
of Doing Nothing:
Quantif ying the impact of leadership
on the bottom line
Most executives instinctively know that strong leadership is essential for overall
organizational success. However, in most organizations, there is a lack of urgency to improve
leadership skills driven by a belief that an organization’s current leadership capacity—and
subsequent performance—is good enough. But is it? Analysis by The Ken Blanchard
Companies® shows that the average organization is forfeiting over $1 million per year in
untapped potential because of less-than-optimal leadership practices.*
In a recent article titled, “How Extraordinary Leaders Double Profits,” authors Jack Zenger,
Joe Folkman, and Scott K. Edinger make the extraordinary claim that there is enormous
potential for organizations to improve their bottom lines by developing leaders who, for
example, inspire people to perform at higher levels and who can recognize and remove
obstacles to employee productivity. In fact, their research shows that good leaders can
double profits.1
The average organization
is forfeiting over
$1 million per year
in untapped potential.
Similarly, Laurie Bassi, cofounder of McBassi & Company and a former professor of
economics at Georgetown University, has shown that organizations whose leaders
eliminate barriers, provide feedback, inspire confidence, share information, and
welcome new ideas outperform those that don’t. In comparing the average threeyear compound annual growth rate in income for high versus low sales offices in a
major business, Bassi found that the growth rate for the higher-scoring offices ranged
from 60% to 130% higher than the growth rate for offices with low human capital
management scores.2
Strong leadership is not only important to the overall success of an organization; anything
less has significant financial implications. In this white paper we will explore the impact that
leadership has on employee productivity, employee turnover, and customer satisfaction. By
looking at the effect that leadership has in each of these three areas, we believe it is possible
for executives to begin to recognize and quantify the impact of average versus best-practice
leadership in their organizations.
The connection between leadership practices and employee productivity is well documented
and presents the largest opportunity for most organizations today. In a 1995 study of nearly
1,000 firms, Mark Huselid of Rutgers University found a statistically significant correlation
between high-performance work practices and intermediate employee outcomes such as
turnover, productivity, and overall corporate financial performance. The factors that impact
employee productivity include selection, performance management and appraisal processes,
as well as development strategies that include training, coaching, and mentoring.3
* Based on initial results of participants using Blanchard’s Cost of Doing Nothing Calculator
Providing employees with the tools, resources, direction, and support they need to
perform at their best are just some of the factors that lead to a high-performance work
environment. In addition, leaders need to consider systemic organizational obstacles
that might be present in the work environment. When any of these factors are left to
default instead of design, the result is generally less than optimal productivity. In fact,
in discussing these barriers to employee development and their subsequent impact on
productivity with senior executives around the world, most senior executives have
assessed that their workforce is operating at only 60% to 65% of their potential.4
Senior executives
have assessed that their
workforce is operating at only
60% to 65%
of their potential.
As surprisingly low as this may sound, it is very similar to the results of a
large survey of 1,300 private-sector companies conducted by Proudfoot
Consulting in 2002. In that survey, conducted with companies from seven
of the world’s leading economies, Proudfoot found that, on average, only
59% of work time is productive.5 What gets in the way of higher employee
productivity? According to Proudfoot, there are three major causes:
• Insufficient planning and control (43%)
• Inadequate management (23%)
• Poor working morale (12%)
As Tor Dahl, former president of the World Confederation of Productivity Science and
a member of the Board of Directors for the American Productivity and Quality Center,
explains, “Although most people are working very hard these days, we have found that each
individual in an organization can still increase productivity by at least 30%. How can that
be? The answer lies in the fact that most workers, often of no fault of their own, are not
working on the right things in the right way. The culprits are a variety of organizational ‘ills,’
including lack of clear directions and goals, sub-optimized processes, excessive paperwork
and reporting requirements, unproductive meetings, inappropriate systems and tools, etc.”6
What’s Possible with B etter Leadership?
Research published by The Ken Blanchard Companies in 2006 identified strategic
leadership and operational leadership as two of the factors that most impact employee
passion, and subsequently, overall organizational vitality.7
From a strategic perspective, this means that leaders need to set the tone and direction
for their organizations by creating a strong vision, an empowering culture, and a strong
set of strategic imperatives. From an operational leadership standpoint this means that
leaders need to provide people with the day-to-day direction and support they need
to do their best. The maximum benefit occurs when both strategic leadership and
organizational management practices are aligned.
While it is unrealistic to expect workers to be 100% productive through every working day,
Blanchard believes that most organizations are operating with a 5% to 10% productivity loss
102109 The High Cost of Doing Nothing
© 2009 The Ken Blanchard Companies. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.

that better leadership practices could eliminate. Using data from a Situational Leadership® II
implementation involving 300 managers and 1,200 direct reports at a large financial services
firm, this study showed that the organization achieved a 5%-12% increase in productivity
among direct reports of managers who attended the leadership development training and
became better leaders using the new skills they had learned.8
E mployee Tur n over
Retaining skilled, motivated, and experienced employees is a continual challenge for
most organizations. While economic cycles can temporarily increase or decrease the
number of available applicants in the job market, it is always in a company’s best interests
to keep skilled and experienced employees after they have joined the firm’s workforce.
This is due to the fact that there are several different costs associated with replacing an
experienced employee, including:
• The cost of covering the position while vacant
• The cost of finding a replacement
• The cost of getting a new person up to speed
These costs directly impact a company’s financial performance. As Seymour Burchman,
a principal at the global management consulting firm Sibson & Company, points out,
“Employee turnover has a significant effect on companies’ top lines by inhibiting their
ability to keep current customers, acquire new ones, increase productivity and quality,
and pursue growth opportunities.” According to Sibson, this can result in a 16%–50%
cost as a percent of industry earnings.9
Additionally, according to Saratoga Institute, a leading authority on turnover
and retention, between 9% and 32% of that cost is directly attributable to
poor management practices. In research conducted through anonymous
exit interviews with 19,000 people leaving organizations, Saratoga Institute
found that people leave organizations for a variety of reasons closely related
to leadership competencies including10:
Most organizations
are operating
with a 5% to 10%
productivity loss
that better leadership practices
could eliminate.
Lack of respect from or support by supervisor (13%)
Supervisor’s lack of leadership skills (9%)
Poor employee relations with a supervisor (4%)
Lack of recognition (4%)
Supervisor incompetence (2%)
In a typical organization, the cost of poor leadership and subsequent employee turnover
can run well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on an organization’s
current turnover rate and the specific positions being lost. While there are many models for
102109 The High Cost of Doing Nothing
© 2009 The Ken Blanchard Companies. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.

calculating the cost of turnover in an organization, a conservative estimate is 30% of annual
salary to replace a lower-skilled, entry-level employee, to as much as 250% of annual salary
to replace a highly specialized or difficult-to-replace position. For organizations looking
for a general benchmark to cover employees of all types, Saratoga Institute uses a 100%
replacement cost for its calculations.
Employee Retention B enchmark
While it may not be possible to retain 100% of the skilled and experienced people your
organization would like to keep, Blanchard believes that the average organization could
reduce turnover by approximately 9% by improving the levels of respect, recognition,
direction, and support supervisors and managers provide to direct reports.
For organizations that are unsure of benchmark retention rates for their industries, we
recommend the Web site for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics
at www.bls.gov. For industries that are not listed, a good minimum standard would be to
improve upon the U.S. national rate of 20%.11
The average organization could
reduce turnover
by approximately 9%
by improving the levels of respect,
recognition, direction, and support
supervisors and managers provide
to direct reports.
Improving leadership practices can likewise improve customer satisfaction
scores and thus reduce the resulting negative financial impact that lower
scores cause. Best-in-class service providers typically achieve customer
satisfaction ratings of approximately 85%, according to the American
Customer Satisfaction Index, while average providers score closer to 75%.12
For the typical organization, this gap between average and exceptional
satisfaction levels translates into a 3.8% reduction in revenue growth,
resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of potential revenue loss for
any organization generating $10 million or more in annual revenue.13
Anthony Rucci, Steven Kirn, and Richard Quinn first quantified this
connection in the late 1990’s when they identified that every 1.3% increase
in customer satisfaction scores corresponded with a subsequent 0.5% increase in revenue
growth. In an article originally published in the Harvard Business Review titled “The
Employee-Customer-Profit Chain at Sears,” the authors concluded that leadership
practices which lead to higher employee satisfaction scores translated into higher
customer satisfaction scores, and subsequently into bottom-line impact.13
Additional research by The Ken Blanchard Companies in 2006 confirmed the
connections between leadership effectiveness, employee passion, customer devotion, and
overall organizational vitality by identifying that14:
• Effective operational leadership directly predicts positive employee passion.
• Positive employee passion directly predicts customer devotion.
• Customer devotion directly predicts organizational vitality.
102109 The High Cost of Doing Nothing
© 2009 The Ken Blanchard Companies. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.

In looking at the specific, quantifiable impact that good management practices can have
on improving customer satisfaction scores, The Ken Blanchard Companies believes that
better leadership can generate a 3-4% improvement in customer satisfaction scores and
a corresponding 1.5% increase in revenue growth. This is based on the results of an
impact study evaluating the results of a Situational Leadership® II initiative with over 700
managers of a major retailer. The managers were trained and later evaluated by followup associate opinion surveys conducted with over 10,000 direct reports. The retailer
also conducted customer satisfaction surveys after the implementation to evaluate the
initiative’s impact on the customer experience.
As predicted, direct reports perceived leadership skill improvements in all areas including
their manager’s ability to delegate, provide feedback, provide support, and provide directive
behavior. Most importantly, the customer satisfaction survey showed a 3.8% improvement in
overall customer satisfaction.15
Leadership Impacts the B ottom Line
In any economic cycle, the basics still apply—you have to have a good business plan, you
have to take care of your customers, and you have to take care of your people. Leaders
are an important part of that process. After all, it is leaders who help employees set
goals; make sure that those goals are in alignment with overall corporate strategy: and
who are also responsible for providing the direction and support that employees need to
succeed at work on a daily basis.
Even though change—like a leadership development initiative—can be disruptive,
difficult, and financially challenging, taking no action is often the most expensive option
of all. In this white paper we have quantified the cost of doing nothing by looking at
the impact that less-than-optimal leadership practices have on an organization. In our
estimation, the average organization is leaving hundreds of thousands, and in most cases,
millions of dollars on the table each year in three key areas—employee productivity,
employee turnover, and less than satisfactory customer satisfaction scores.
One challenge that all organizations must address is the invisible drag on performance
known as maintaining the status quo—the belief that conditions are good enough just as
they presently stand. This is a serious deception that causes otherwise good companies to
settle for less-than-optimal performance.
Taking no action
is often the most expensive
option of all.
102109 The High Cost of Doing Nothing
In any economy, organizations need to make sure that they are getting
the best out of their people by providing strong, consistent, and inspiring
leadership. Today, the need to satisfy customers, create new innovative
solutions, and get the most out of every dollar is even more important. By
evaluating and improving leadership practices throughout their organization,
executives can remove a persistent drain on financial performance that
allows their organization to grow and thrive.
© 2009 The Ken Blanchard Companies. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.

Zenger, J., Folkman, J., & Edinger, S. K. (2009). How Extraordinary Leaders Double Profits. Chief Learning Officer
Bassi, L. & McMurrer, D. (2007). Maximizing your Return on People. Harvard Business Review
Huselid, M., A. (1995). The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity, and
Corporate Financial Performance. Academy of Management Journal. Volume 38 Number 3, pp. 635-672.
The Ken Blanchard Companies (2004). The Impact of Leadership on the Bottom Line.
Proudfoot Consulting. (2002). Untapped Potential-The Barriers to Optimal Corporate Productivity. Available online at
Dahl, T. Principles of Productivity. Available online at http://www.tordahl.com/principles.html
Zigarmi, D., Blanchard, S., Essary, V. & Houson, D. (2006). The Leadership-Profit Chain. Escondido, California. The
Ken Blanchard Companies.
Leone, P. (2008) Take your ROI to Level 6. Training Industry Quarterly
Nextera Research Study. (2000). Employee Turnover Depresses Earnings in Four High Turnover Industries.
Available online at: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-63938237.html
Branham, L. (2005). The Seven Hidden Reasons Why Employees Leave. New York: American Management
US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Available online at www.bls.gov
The American Customer Satisfaction Index. Available online at www.theacsi.org
Rucci, A., Kirn, S., & Quinn, R., (1998). The Employee-Customer-Profit Chain at Sears. The Harvard Business
Zigarmi, D., Blanchard, S., Essary, V., & Houson, D. (2006). The Leadership-Profit Chain. Escondido, California. The
Ken Blanchard Companies.
The Ken Blanchard Companies (2002). Impact Study: The LensCrafters Vision
102109 The High Cost of Doing Nothing
© 2009 The Ken Blanchard Companies. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.

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