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Capitalist Note - See objection below in the comments to the use of the phrase "organ donor" in a light hearted way.  Fair point, everyone approves of being a real organ donor, yet no one does it - check the box, people...

Organ [ˈɔːrɡən] Donor [ˈdoʊnər] 

1. A dysfunctional company on the skids that's become a primary source of your recruiting efforts because people are jumping ship as fast as they can.  An Organ Donor can also be a Organ donor manager or executive in your industry that's hemorrhaging talent due to various personal issues they have or a management style has worn thin on a group of direct reports that once tolerated it.

Usage: "We've been using Research In Motion as an organ donor for years, but that's slowed down because most of the organs (talent) that were ready to be harvested are gone."

You all know organ donors in the talent space. They're the companies that are going through widespread changes in their industry, layoffs, market corrections, etc, that cause the best talent to think about leaving.  And you're the progressive recruiting function that's ready to capitalize on that doubt or harvest the "organs" or units of talent by bringing them to your company.  

A manager/executive present at a competitor can also serve as an organ donor if there's discord within their team.

The thing about organ donors is that they rarely result in one person leaving the donor.  Organ donors have enough problems that most of the organs (talent) end up getting harvested, especially if someone like you recognizes the opportunity and make the move to find the best and separate them form the donor.

Words matter.  Use the term organ donor to show that you get the opportunity present at a dysfunctional competitor and are willing to suck all the talent out like an industrial strength vacuum.  The people you support will appreciate the grittiness/street smarts.



Kris, I'm a huge fan of your blog and of your work. I have forwarded your information to people on many occasions. Today is my first "what are you thinking?" Organ donors, despite serving as a C level person in companies whose name you would know, is not a term I relate to in the way you've framed it. So however common you think it is, to at least this member of your audience, it is not.

To me, organ donation is about saving lives. In Canada, where I'm currently working, 65% of all people believe organ donation (the real organ donation) is important, yet only 18% sign up to be part of the program for various reasons.

So when you title a piece that is about "people poaching" "organ donation" you obfuscate further the idea that organ donation is about saving lives.

You coached people to trivialize and sound smart by sounding like they don't care about saving lives. In my book, its bad advice. Worse, your headline is offensive.

How could you have mitigated this? Your headline was about "where people go after they leave you". Open with "there is a term - however horrific - that you need to know. Its organ donation. Here's what it means in the world of talent. Here's what that term is offensive. But I'm keeping it real by sharing the term. Now, here's what it means to have this happening to your firm."


Hi Ann -

I'm sorry the post and the use of the term offended you. I get what you're saying and have edited the post so when the long tail of readers who find this post over the next couple of years understand the issue you raise. Fair point to be sure...

Thanks - KD



As an organ donor, I was not offended, but I can see how Ann or others might be. I think Ann and I would agree that you swing for the fences in your blog, and that means that means some strikeouts. Appreciate you owning it and Ann calling you out - good stuff.

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