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.

Let’s talk about email

Or actually, let’s talk about communication. All communication is designed to change behavior. If you do not want to change behavior, including updating people by giving them information or sharing something, it does not serve a meaningful purpose.

My readers know my hang up with R=Q*A so in this case, the result of the change in behavior is depending on the quality of the message you are sending and the acceptance of it by your target audience. If they do not accept it at all, you can have the greatest quality information ever, but you won’t get any results. If you make the communication acceptable or more acceptable to them, the results will increase a lot. You will need to find out what medium is best to use for your communication to ensure you have the best option of changing the behavior and making an impact.

So let’s just go over some things that I hate in email communications and then send me your views!

Having a terrible subject line. Or even worse, having a subject line that says “re:…….” but meanwhile the topic has changed and the content of the email is not at all about the subject in the subject line anymore.

While we are on the topic of subjects, try to stay on topic, stick with the subject in the subject line and do not introduce a totally different discussion in the final paragraph and expect me to have read that and react on it. Just start your email with what you want from me. Like: “this is to ask your opinion about….”, or ” please provide this …. report to me by …..”. etc.

Forgetting the attachments. Really there are systems that will ask you if you don’t want to send an attachment when you mention the word. USE THEM.

Replying to all and then all replying with one-word emails to say “thanks”. It clogs up my inbox and it serves no purpose.

Having to read through several paragraphs before I find the actual punchline or request or action item. Try to be concise, control your writer’s instinct for your memoirs and do not bother your colleagues with it.  If you need so many words, maybe email is not the right medium to use. Plan a meeting, write a position paper.

Finally, I want to mention the use of the text talk abbreviations. I may be oldfashioned but I don’t know them all and you should use them for tweets to save digits and stay in the 140 characters or for working on your phone when you don’t want to push all these tiny keys.

Talking about working on your phone, another gripe I have is that more and more people seem to think that they can live their life and do all business only with their wonderful smartphone. Attachments I sent do not get downloaded and read because their phone can’t handle it and messages that do not fit on the first page of an iPhone easily get ignored. Please fire up that PC or laptop from time to time and be serious about doing business and having meaningful communications in business.

Oh well, those were some of my hot buttons. What are yours? Shoot me an email or tweet.