Is Your Business Dependent Upon Key People?
Who are the people that your business couldn’t possibly do without?
Although you may be tempted to say “everyone,” your business like most others probably has a handful (or more) of key individuals whose contributions are particularly critical to the success of the business.
You can easily identify the key people of your organisation by observing if any of the following effects take place when a certain person is absent from the business for any length of time.
- The business or a certain part of it seems to be holding its breath until that person returns
- The business functions as though it is missing a limb
- Extended absences result in a significant negative impact on day-to-day operations
- Key people feel like they can’t take leave without worrying about how the business will cope
- Certain roles have become extensions of the people who serve in them rather than being continually reviewed and improved in order to serve specific business purposes
Now has it become clear which key people your business is dependent upon?
While many organisations depend on key people, too few understand the level of risk that the business faces by relying exclusively on certain individuals to be available to fulfil important roles. It is all too easy to assume that key people will always be there to serve the business, but this is a naïve and possibly costly assumption to make.
Your business must position itself to not only cope but thrive seamlessly should any of its key people become suddenly and permanently unavailable to the business. How can this possibly be achieved?
First, a succession planning and internal process review will take a systematic look at the key roles required by the business, who is responsible for filling those roles and what skills those roles require. Next, the review will analyse how the roles could be structured to allow different people to step in and fill various responsibilities should the need arise. Finally, a plan can be put in place to fill gaps and build the skills of those individuals identified, giving the business a greater breadth of coverage across all of its key roles.
The benefits of conducting a formal succession planning or key role review for your business are numerous and include the following:
- Seamless business function and success even when key people are unavailable
- Reduced risk to the long-term viability of the business
- Opportunity for staff to learn new skills and step up to new challenges
- An invitation for staff to contribute ideas and opinions on how the business and its different roles could be more productive and efficient
- An increased understanding of different aspects of the business for all staff
- Encouragement for everyone in the business to maintain a healthy work/life balance