Admit it. Even if you don’t say it out loud, you rehearse it in your mind. After all, you are the one who started this business, and without you it would all fall apart.
NOBODY AROUND HERE CAN DO IT LIKE I DO!
Well whose fault is that?
You see, there’s a big problem (or two or ten) with this line of thinking, and even bigger problems if it’s actually true.
What happens if suddenly you aren’t around?
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that “stuff” out of our control does happen. We get sick, we have an accident, we need to take care of our kids or our aging parents. Or maybe, just maybe everything is going really well and we just want to take a nice vacation to somewhere warm. (It’s possible this could be autobiographical, as parts of the state where I live, NH, just got dumped on with 4 feet of snow. Just saying.)
This brings us to Need #4 on the Order Level of the Business Hierarchy of Needs; Linchpin Redundancy
Question: Is your business designed to operate unabated when key employees are not available?
In his book “Linchpin”, author Seth Godin describes this role as somebody in an organization who is indispensable – who simply cannot be replaced because they are just far too unique and valuable. The point of the book is to teach you as an employee how to become that in the organization you work for.
Most of us know who the “linchpin” is in our company. As described before, many times early in our business it is us as the owner. As the business grows often it is the office manager or “admin” who is the glue that holds it all together.
This is a dangerous place for a company to find itself in, for the reasons described above. When “stuff happens” in your business and pulls a key person out, what happens? Does the work just pile up waiting for that person to come back, if they ever do, or is there someone else in your organization that can step up and get it done? The bottom line is that no business should have a dependency on any one person that is so critical things come screeching to a halt if they are out for more than a couple days.
And that’s why it’s so important to have documented systems in your business, and more than one person trained on those systems. The key words here is “documented” and “trained”. If you have been following this series you’ll recognize every business has a way of doing things, those are their business “systems”. But not every company has documented those systems so best practices can be followed by everybody, every time. And it’s not very fair (or productive) to ask someone to take on a task they know nothing about or maybe didn’t even realize someone else did. Training and cross-training takes care of that problem.
There are many ways to document systems so they can be easily taught. You don’t have to write huge step-by-step manuals. One of the most effective ways is to record video walkthroughs and screenshots of everyday tasks, and then make them available on a shared drive.
So think about it. Who are the key people in your company you just can’t imagine not having there? What would happen if they walked into your office today and told you they needed some time off? Or quit? Is your company prepared for life without them?
And what about you? Are you able to take some time off when you need to without things falling apart? If it’s true that “Nobody Can Do It Like I Do”, you have some work to do taking care of that. I promise that the short term pain of creating “linchpin redundancy” in your business is more than made up for when it hits the fan.
Start small. What’s one system you could document and teach today?
Now Make it Happen!