In sports the number of players available to substitute during a game is called the bench strength. In business it is the competence and number of employees ready to fill a vacancy in a leadership role. As in sports, the team with the strongest bench wins the championship because they can readily compensate for injuries, fatigue and other adversities.
Market shifts, resignations, terminations are a few examples of how having a good bench strength would help continue the forward momentum that your company has. If you didn’t have capable and ready people to fill in those holes you become vulnerable to your competitors. Having a strong bench will also give you more confidence to take more risks in innovation because you know you have the people who can properly execute it.
Follow these tips to make sure you are building your leadership bench strength:
Hire Slow and Fire Fast:
It isn’t easy to find good people. Don’t wait until you need to hire someone to do so. When you wait you tend to settle out of need or urgency. It is never a good practice to “just need someone” and in the end you likely will have wasted 90 more days trying to train and evaluate them. However, you don’t have to wait 90 days to terminate someone who is not a fit, the faster you do it the less the damage they will cause by hanging around.
Take your time to interview and select the right people who will add to your already great team. This is a natural and critical component for you to replenish your bench.
It’s More about a Culture Fit Then a Skills fit:
Every company, team and department has their own culture. It is very important to make sure that the person you have chosen to bring on board will fit within that culture. In most cases you cannot train to culture, they either fit or they don’t. Times change, markets change and so does your training. Without realizing it you are already constantly training skills so training a new hire won’t be any different.
You would make a great selection if you found someone who met 40 percent of your qualifications and was a culture fit than someone who met 80 percent of the qualifications and wasn’t a culture fit.
Share the Power of Decision Making:
Think checks and balances. When the power of decision making is shared it gives people the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to strategize and maturity in decision making. It helps them to become comfortable with making decisions so when you aren’t around or there is a need to advance someone they would easily be able to fill in.
Shared decision making helps others develop their decision making skills and provides you with a comfort level of their ability to make the best decisions at the best time.
Implement a solid succession planning process:
This should already be a habit in your leadership tool box. The day you start a new job is the day you start training your replacement. One benefit to you would be that if an opportunity opened up you could quickly and easily transition. The benefit to the person you are grooming is growth and engagement. The organization benefits by having a leadership bench.
Following these 4 tips will help strengthen your leadership bench to position your organization for adaptable and sustainable success. The strength of your leadership bench will allow you to take more risks and be more innovative because you will have confidence that there are people capable of the execution.
More Actionable Advice:
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