Situation: A CEO has a staffing issue. The company has four product areas but only three strong leads. There are no back-ups for these leads. The CEO feels that the company can’t afford full-time back-ups and is concerned that the presence of back-ups may threaten the leads. How do you create an effective staff back-up system?
Advice from the CEOs:
- There are two problems, not one.
- The leads may not be great managers and may not even like managerial responsibility.
- The company has one administrator with support from the leads.
- The company’s vulnerability is having an effective lead leave and taking their key core team members with them. This would create a significant hole in the company’s offering.
- Change the structure – put manager administrators at top and let the leads do what they love to do. Fit the jobs of the leads to their skills and talents.
- Hire the best #2s that can be found to back up the effective leads. Replace the less effective lead with a new lead.
- Replace current team members who aren’t as good with new staff. This will provide the funding for the new people.
- Then separate managers from architects in terms of role. This does not mean a change of compensation, or necessarily even titles. It means aligning roles with talents. It will also mean that individuals will be happier in their roles and will be less likely to leave.
- Don’t do this all at once, but in gradual stages to avoid panic and allow individuals the time to adapt to their new roles. Act as a coach adjusting the whole team to a new playbook.
- Consider adjusting the compensation structure to retain the key leads.