Are You Replaceable?

11 10 2013

I sat in a meeting recently with my boss where twice during that meeting he made the statement “Everyone is Replaceable”.  I don’t recall what we were talking about or in what context he made the statement and that part is really irrelevant to the conversation that I’m about to have with each of you.  Replaceable_300x200

In all honesty, I want to be replaceable and we should all strive for that.  Why on earth would we want anything different for ourselves or those we manage?  If we aren’t replaceable, that makes us irreplaceable and what a lonely, stagnant place to be pigeon-holed into.  If you can’t be replaced, how do you get promoted?  You don’t.  Do you find yourself hoarding knowledge, information or skills that you aren’t willing to share with others?  If so, break that habit.  Trying to protect your little island at all costs does not equal job security in the long run.  You will eventually fall victim to automation, a reduction in force, or your employer’s need to replace you with someone who is replaceable.  

What we should work hard to accomplish is becoming indispensable to our organization.  Being indispensable is a mindset coupled with attributes and skills versus the functions of a job title or role.  It is about delivering big time impact no matter where you are.  An indispensable person is one you can hand any type of project, put in nearly any role, give a challenge to and they just go and make things happen.  They understand what needs to get done and adapt on the fly.  They love to learn and even more so, LOVE to teach.  

An indispensable person wears many hats, bringing something powerful, unique or pivotal to their work. They then carry and apply this approach to EVERYTHING they do.  We should ALWAYS strive to be indispensable rather than irreplaceable.  We should coach and train our teams to sail the ship without us.  We should hire talent that are strong in the areas where we are weak…people smarter than we are. 

Yeah, indispensable is the adjective we want used to describe us.  By being indispensable, we can be assured of one thing:  Few businesses can thrive for the long term without us.

Choose wisely between the two camps, my friends. 

 

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