Key team member

Assessing Replaceability: The Impact of Losing Key Team Members

How replaceable are you? How replaceable is your key team member? What happens if you or the key member doesn’t show up to work tomorrow – forever?

“The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.” This quote, often attributed to Charles de Gaulle, reminds us that everyone, no matter how essential they seem, can be replaced, including you and me, and perhaps that’s how it should be.

On my recent visit to China, I was drawn to Xian, home to what many consider the eighth wonder of the world – the Terracotta Army. This magnificent site displays rows of life-sized soldiers, each of them having a different expression, uniform and weapon – a testament to the artistry of ancient China.

These soldiers guarded the burial chambers of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the unifier of China and the initiator of the Great Wall. Under his rule, Xian flourished, serving as a capital and the starting point of the Silk Road. Recognizing his mortality, Qin Shi Huang sought immortality through his monumental mausoleum.

He left a lasting legacy – having consolidated warring tribes into a single empire. China even got its name from him – as Qin is pronounced Chin.

What matters is not our continuing presence but our legacy.

As an entrepreneur, the continuity of my projects, my company and my legacy concerns me.

How do we ensure continuity?

How irreplaceable are your team members in comparison?

And how replaceable are you?

What continuity plans are in place for the roles you and others play?

What matters is whether we have created institutions or instituted our processes.

On a personal side, when we realize that we are replaceable and that our work will continue even without us, we should take time out to go and smell the roses. We have to make sure we have good work-life harmony, and it should not be lopsided toward work alone.

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