Leading effectively is a complex mix of skills and behaviors that don’t all come naturally and can’t be mastered quickly (if ever). To put it simply, to be a great leader, you must be a continual learner.
That is easy to say. It is easy to believe. But how do you do it?
Source: A No-Excuses Leadership Learning Strategy
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.