WWE Executive Turnover Continues: Here Is Why That’s Okay

WWE executive turnover continues to seem like it’s out of control with the company recently losing two more high-ranking officials, one of whom left on their own accord and the other who was fired by Vince McMahon.

Cageside Seats’ Keith Harris reports this with the headline “WWE HQ turmoil,” but in reality, it’s just what one should expect from a global corporation as successful as WWE.

According to Harris, “Vince McMahon has fired Executive Vice President of Content, Lisa Fox Lee, after just six months in the role, whilst Senior Vice President of Digital Content, Rob Bernstein, has left the company for a more senior position in IPG — Mediabrands Publishing.”

Harris goes on to enumerate the various executives, who have either been fired, pressured out of jobs, or left on their own accord over the course of the last few years.

On the surface, this adage — commonly embraced by Vince McMahon when it comes to WWE executive positions — might seem like a bad thing, but if you’ve ever run your own business or been part of a company focused on accelerated growth, you would know this is really “business as usual,” and it goes back to an old business adage that has helped many companies go lean and reap the benefits.

That adage: “Be slow to hire, fast to fire.”

As Greg McKeown of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) notes, it’s a concept that has been around since at least the Great Depression.

“I recently worked with the CEO and her top 35 executives,” McKeown writes of an unnamed Silicon Valley company. “They want to scale while maintaining their lean and entrepreneurial edge. As I introduced the idea of ‘hire slow, fire fast,’ I thought it might seem a bit provocative. But no sooner had I mentioned the idea, than the CEO interrupted enthusiastically. She said, ‘We have had that idea for a decade!’ She pointed to one of the other leaders in the room and said he had learned it from his father, who had run a thriving company through the Great Depression. The principle has been key to the company’s success.”

While McKeown admits that it may “seem insensitive,” he then makes the case that it’s actually a more compassionate form of doing business. You can read his three points here.

“Hire slow, fire fast,” means that you take your time with hiring decisions and that you don’t allow employees, who clearly don’t “get it,” to continue hanging around in positions they are not equipped to handle.

McKeown likens it to entrepreneurial open heart surgery in this passage.

“This dynamic led one Silicon Valley company through a season of undisciplined growth leading up to a massive lay-off. It was the organizational equivalent of open heart surgery: instead of having the daily discipline required to maintain a lean and entrepreneurial team, leaders waited until the organizational arteries were blocked and major systems were failing before putting the whole company into trauma through massive, corrective surgery.”

Over the last four years, WWE executive fallout has directly coincided with some of the company’s biggest gains — namely rising stock prices and the successful online channel, the WWE Network.

While the company is past the age of being a “startup,” it has had to function like one during this time of significant growth.

While sports entertainment, in the past, has proven to be a volatile and cyclical industry, I wouldn’t read too much into the bleeding of WWE executive hires.

But what do you think, readers? Is the quick turnover at the top par for the course, or should investors be worried? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via IB Times]