This past weekend, I really enjoyed watching the NFL Wild Card Football Games. Each one of the teams that played this weekend has overcome some type of adversity: injuries, tough schedule, close losses, but in the end they all were there on the field playing for the chance to go to the Super Bowl. I thought it was ironic that every visiting team won their game. Your heart has to go out to those Bengals and Vikings fans who could taste victory only to let it slip away in the final minute. Of course this weekend was especially meaningful to me, a life-long Chiefs fan. Who would have thought that this team would have to return to Houston with an ex-49er quarterback to finally win a playoff game, its first since 2014 when Joe Montana was the quarterback.
The one consistent attribute that all of these teams had was the fact that they had to play as a team. The better teams have the better personnel. Period! It is great to have excellent starting players, but it is another thing to have backups and role players who are ready when called upon to execute the game plan. There were several times where a few key players were injured and their replacements were called on to take their place. This is the area where the great teams persevere.
What a huge lesson this is for our companies. Too many times, companies feel that if they lost this person or that person their company could possibly collapse. As a leader, it is our job to minimize these types of dependencies and create a culture of learning and backing up each other. When key people leave a company, the company may suffer a bit. Today, it is critical to minimize these types of risks. In my experience I have found that companies that stress the need for each person to have a backup are the companies that are leading companies in their industry. Many companies struggle for years trying to achieve this.
The past few years I have been fortunate to work with a management team that continues to stress this need for training backups at every position. We still have work to do in this area, but it is amazing to see the results of implementing a program where people can rely on each other to get particular work tasks completed. This process is never ending and can always be improved in some way.
One last point…If you receive resistance from employees regarding this topic; and certain people will resist this type of culture, consider their value to your team. You may also want to note this information in their file for future reference.
For 2016, consider not only training for your team but work on building a sustainable team that can works toward a supportive culture where work is learned and shared with others.
Picture Source: Ultimatecapper.com