critical value

January 3, 2010

Understanding the Critical Value of Key Roles in Your Team

Every business has its Key Roles.

Each organization has pivotal positions that are critical to get right. Managers who understand that these roles and positions are often critical to success are usually the ones who are ahead of the game.

All teams have those really vital roles, where without people knowing what they are doing, the going would get very tough indeed. Those critical positions in the team that simply have to be right or things would become very difficult.

Because initially it isn’t practical to use succession planning for absolutely everyone in your business, these roles are the ones where a good manager initially focuses on, just to ensure continuity if the worst comes to the worst.

So it’s important to focus, at least to start with, on those roles where you would struggle when someone left or was unable to work for a while. The cataclysmic positions without which would be a serious threat to ongoing continuity.

Such roles are mostly pretty obvious, yet there will be some that even the most aware manager might not appreciate, so it’s worth considering how to analyze the whole team to see just who would be missed if they didn’t show up one day!

To help identify the ‘Key Roles’, they are filled by employees who would:-

•    Have very specific skills
•    Have a particular level of experience
•    Be carrying out a role alone
•    Lead a team
•    Be critical in some other way to the business

Some examples of these would be those with:-

•    Management or Supervisory skills
•    Technical skills
•    Accounting skills
•    Sales skills
•    Particular responsibilities
•    Extreme duties (e.g. key holders, very early or late hours)

There are, no doubt, many more – especially in your own unique situation – and it will be worth taking some time to ask the following question:-

“What would we do if he/she left tomorrow?”

…for every single employee in your team (and even, where your team intersects with others, perhaps those in other teams too).

This is can be a challenging exercise the first time through – and with a little practice, it does get easier as awareness builds and your support managers – where you have them – become more aware of the consequences of someone important going missing unexpectedly.

Far better for it to be a demanding challenge today when you are ahead of the game and able to prepare for the worst, than tomorrow or next month when one of your key people isn’t around anymore and you have no plan at all!

Great managers are able to size up where they are in solving the problem of losing those in key roles and manage it effectively, providing opportunities to learn and develop for those who might be able to stand up to short-term chances, to show what they can do when emergencies happen.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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December 11, 2009

Building Effective Business Relationships – It’s Just Personal

Building useful relationships in a business world is probably one of the most valuable actions anyone can take. Yet there are many challenges to ensure that it’s authentic and effective at the same time.

Finding a particular trick that makes the difference can save a lot of time and energy, as well as being a very profitable indeed.

We all have a passion.

In us there are certain parts of our lives that are very important to us and we love to spend time with them. These can be the work we do; the people we know; the hobbies and leisure activities we do; or the pets we have and love. In fact, the ‘hot button’ in our lives can be a myriad of things.

When we manage people, we need to engage with them on the most emotional of levels possible, to build the relationship by showing that we care about what’s important to them.

It’s not that we don’t care about their impact on the workplace, but it is more about showing that we know that work isn’t necessarily the most important thing to them in their world.

Once we have the knowledge we need to log into what’s important to them, we have to remember it on those occasions we get into conversations, by showing a genuine interest in the topic.

Whilst in our busy working lives this could be seen to be an imposition we could do without while focusing on the important things we do, it’s important not to underestimate the unseen, yet critical value this focus gives us.

By raising the issue of how their newest grandchild is; or how their scuba diving course went; or (and work is allowed too!); what happened when they were recently interviewed for a promotion, we endear ourselves to those that matter most to us in our work, those team members who deliver for us.

There’s a little more to gain too. When you show interest in what others are passionate about you find it a lot easier to remember names.

You encourage them to be very open with you because you show you care, building trust. You learn much about them that otherwise you would not.

Not least, knowing them better enhances your life too.

By remembering a little about your people, there is much more value to gain than you might expect.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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