It is Never Too Late to Think

I work with a business owner I’ll call "Al" who recently lost a star employee. Al was totally blindsided, and didn’t see the loss coming. The employee appeared happy, challenged, engaged and committed. Next thing Al knew, he was gone.

Al brought up the loss at his TAB board meeting. He talked about how difficult it was going to be to replace the employee, the gap that it left in his company’s resources, and the impact of losing someone who could do things that other employees simply couldn’t do.

If you know much about a TAB board meeting then you know that it isn’t a place where people sit around for very long tut-tutting and hand-wringing over bad things that happened in the past. We focus on solutions and improvement, and it didn’t take long for one of the board members to ask a great question.

"If you’d known that he was going to leave six months ago," he asked Al, "what would you have done differently?"

It was a great question, packed with opportunities to evaluate not just what went wrong, but to start thinking about what to do differently going forward. As the group worked on the issue we came up with ideas on how better to transfer organizational knowledge, cross-train on key tasks, and prepare for potential losses that could really hurt your business if you don’t plan for them.

The good news is that you CAN plan for them. The question is, are you?