My Key person is leaving…… now what?

What makes a key person so key? Is it because they have much experience and know to solve all issues? Is it because they have skills that others do not have? Is it because they have a relationship with your customers that makes you vulnerable when they would leave? Read this again, these are all bad things! Although you can be very happy with the key person, the truth is that you have failed to spread the experience evenly, or have failed to ensure the key person trains other people in your organization, or you have failed to stay in contact with your important customers.

In all of these cases, you have failed to secure the longer term survival of your company and by relying too much on one person, you have not done the company a favor.

Experienced reliable employees are a true asset to the company but failing to use them to build capacity for when they would not be available is a management failure.

So think about when your key person would leave. See this as an opportunity to shore up your company resources and find out exactly what you have in place to continue your services, when that person would unexpectedly not be available anymore.

Also review what exactly makes the key person so key. Is it the lack of policies, processes and procedures that requires heroic deeds every now and then that build the legacy of your key person? Well, read up about our views on process and get busy.

It is great to have key people but remember, you as the responsible person for the business always needs to be the key-holder and ensure the continuance of the company.

Managing Change

Whether it is introducing new technology, moving the company, buying or selling parts of the company, being sold or being bought by another company, going through the wrong part of the economic cycle, change is everywhere and change is constant.

change management picture

Companies that are successful, become successful and remain successful because they can not only deal with change but actually actively manage change.

Every change in your company has an impact on your workers, there is no change in any company that does not affect the workers at that company and change can only be created by the workers in a company.

So managing change is managing the workforce. In order to manage something, you will need to be able to measure what you are managing first. Most managers are not actively aware of their company culture and do little to manage it day to day. In times when change is upon you, it is important to understand what your company’s culture is and have an idea of what you want it to be or what you want to preserve or change about that culture. Company culture starts at the top with your leaders, is carried by your senior managers and should be rooted in the attitudes, beliefs and actions of the workforce. Many things can indicate or create company culture; relations between co-workers and between managers and their staff, beliefs held by the top level managers in the company, a certain pace of work, policies and procedures, meeting formats and frequencies, approach to social media, promotions and recruitment practices etc.

Effective change management will have the following components;

  • Clear directions and follow up by the top of the organization
  • Involvement of all relevant stakeholders as early as possible
  • Setting expectations and holding people accountable
  • Showing measurable, visible evidence of the desired change

None of this is rocket science. This is all doable but you need to think about, plan it and actively manage it or the change will happen to you and the results will be unpredictable and may not be what you need or want.

“Change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter