I was recently called away from the office for a family emergency. While sitting in the hospital waiting for news on my relative I began to wonder about the importance of having an orderly plan in place when people are unexpectedly called away from the office. When people go on vacation you have the opportunity to plan for their leave. But is your business really prepared for the unexpected?
My first mentor attorney was a great instructor. A former Assistant U.S. Attorney he taught me almost everything I know about trial work. And one of his most indelible lessons, albeit somewhat morbid, was that you always need to prepare and build business such that if the leader "gets hit by a bus tomorrow" someone steps into his or her place and the company does not miss a beat.
So ask yourself, what would happen if I were suddenly called away from the office? What would happen if I were hit by the proverbial bus?
So to make your company impervious to this possibility prepare for the unexpected today. Here's how:
1. List Your Critical Functions
List your critical functions to the company. Understand what you need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to keep the company going.
2. Order of Succession
Create a redundant order of succession such that when you are out others in the office automatically know they are charged with the responsibility of getting those functions completed.
3. Train Your Successors
Once the functions are identified and an order of succession put in place train your successors in every facet of their assigned duties so that when that day comes the transition is seamless and the business moves forward even in your absence.