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“Who Knows How To Fire The Torpedoes?”

I recently completed work with a nonprofit client who runs music programs for at-risk youth. It’s a great organization, and a worthwhile cause. I had been asked to coach the marketing director to increase her skills in a variety of areas we agreed upon in advance. This is work that I love to do, but I always suggest that I work with at least two people at an organization. That way, if one person leaves, someone remains with the knowledge, and that person can teach someone else.

The client decided that there wasn’t a suitable second person, and asked me to proceed anyway. I did, and the work with the marketing director was successful. She increased her skillset in the identified areas, and started to bring in more revenue for the organization.

That was going great until she got another job offer, and quit.

It’s incredibly important that your team members be cross-trained. I like to say, “Everyone should know how to fire the torpedoes.” The job market is hot, and employees have many opportunities as to where they can work. While I hope your employees stay put to help you, you must plan as if they won’t. That means at least two people should be able to execute on your organization’s vital operational activities. In addition, start documenting how to do the things that need doing. Screenshare videos, Google sheets, and checklists are all great for this.

This week’s mission:

What skillsets need to be multiplied in your organization? Consider your employees. If any one of them quit tomorrow, what would be your plan? Begin to install the skills in your employees now so that they can cover for each other in an emergency. Who is your primary and who is your secondary? Who needs to learn what?

Have a great week,

Ron

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