Today I had an interesting discussion with my CEO, we were talking about vacation time. My family loves to travel so when my wife a teacher, my son a student in grade 5 have a school break we tend to leave the province. Leaving the province as a president of a company should not be a concern as the work in the office should continue. Anyone person in an office should be able to take vacation time or sick time without having the productivity in the office grinding to a stop. So, the challenge is, how do you structure an office to make sure that no one is irreplaceable. This is the key to having a well-functioning modern office, having overlap in duties, understanding what others are doing in the office, having a shared philosophy, work ethic and approach to common goal. Being a team, supporting each other, professionally developing each other, learning new skills, understanding and knowing what your role is how you fit into the big picture. Being flexible enough to temporarily slide into a different role to cover for a vacationing, sick or absent staff member. Stepping in when help is needed, offering your skill for the betterment of the whole, the goal and the team. Taking a sick day, or going on vacation should not be something that is a stressful situation for an individual or the company as a whole. The loss of an employee should not put a company into a crisis, redundancy should be part of an office structure. A valued employee should be versatile, adaptable, flexible, willing to take ownership for the success of themselves, team, goals and ultimately the company. Having a super talented individual with a very unique narrow skill set is not as valuable as the jack of all trades because a team of jack of all trades will be able in the long run make an office function better than a team of talented individuals. Now in the best situation you would build a team of super talented individual who are renaissance individual and can do many things. The most valuable team member in a modern office is jack of all trades can sing, dance and do everyone’s job well. These people are few and far between, they can be made by making sure the office is designed to allow individuals the opportunity to grow, professionally develop themselves, and try different roles. I don’t do windows, my job description states that I do…is the kiss of death in a modern office. It is better to look at the modern office as an organism that has a single goal, each part knows what it is trying to achieve, each part will offer what it does to achieve that goal, and the weakness within one part can be covered by the strength in another. The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Each part has weaknesses, and strengths but all the parts together are way stronger than any single part by itself. Any single part cannot exist on its own but the whole can exist without one of its parts. The loss of a part does not stop the whole from achieving the goal. The loss makes it more difficult and the whole tries to replace the missing part but because all the other parts know what the missing part did they have the ability to fill the void temporarily. But in the end the loss of a part does not end the whole. But how do you explain to someone that most valuable thing you can do for the company is make yourself redundant. This goes against everything we have been taught, we are taught make yourself so talented that you cannot be replaced, that is good if you are trying to be hired but if you are trying to advance in the modern office making yourself irreplaceable means a company cannot promote you because the hole you leave behind will hurt the company. So the modern day employee, acquire a marketable skill set which will get you hired, expand upon those skill when hired to allow yourself to be replaced so you can be promoted and know how to do everyone job so you climb the corporate ladder you know what it takes to do everyone’s job.
Now, there is a formula for success.