The People

Alex: Do you have a key person risk?

Have you considered what would happen to your business if someone (actually, when someone) you really value leaves?

I have worked with many teams and leaders over the years who talk about managing key person risk. They call out high level dependencies, they acknowledge someone as the source of all knowledge on a particular subject or process, they talk about it – yet they don't do anything to mitigate this risk!

When everything is going well, we tend to focus elsewhere. We lose sight of just how dependent we are on a particular person or people in the team. Why? Because they are so reliable, so dependable and so fantastic, that they seamlessly integrate with our life at work and make it – well, easy!

The trouble is that when they leave, you are left with a gaping hole in your business, with no easy way to fill it.

This happened to me a few times over my career until I really wised up to this and was way more strategic about ensuring there was a succession plan and documented processes in place.

The first time this happened, it was my first ever PA. I remember the day she resigned I actually cried! I cried because she was so awesome, and I loved working with her, and…. I was so dependent on her awesomeness and her efficiency that the thought of her not being there to rely on totally sent me over the edge.

So she left to take the next step in her career and it was totally the right thing for her to do. In fact in my short-sightedness, I was actually being really selfish. It wasn't that I prevented her from doing anything else - she was just so awesome in her role that it dIdn't occur to me that she might want to grow into something else!

The next time this happened, I was still caught unawares. It wasn't my PA this time, but a key member of the larger team. This woman was the wind beneath the wings of the rest of the team. She was proactive, funny, incredibly efficient, a problem solver and she just got shit done.

When she left to travel overseas for six months, the enormity of just what she did for us really became apparent.

So this is my TOP tip for you today….

Go through all of your team and map out where any dependencies lie.

  • Who is the wind beneath the wings of you and your team?

  • Who is the person you rely on to always be there?

  • Who is the rock?

  • Who is the accepted expert?

  • Is there one person that knows a process, a code, a product or a CLIENT better than anyone elser?
This is where a massive risk lies in your business – even if you can't see any danger signs of someone leaving. Remember you often don't see it coming, so get proactive!

Once you work out where your key dependencies are, then start to put safeguards in place – document processes, train a successor, always be recruiting.

This is what I advise all my clients to do, and I remember when I started adopting this mentality it made all the difference, even though I still had great people leave from time to time, and was really disappointed, it didn't grind the business to a halt.

This will take an hour of your time and is one of the best steps you can take to safeguard your business! Do it today….


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