When the boss is away…

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I’m about to go away on vacation with my family.  Jay and I make sure we get away together with our families once a year.  It’s a great opportunity for us to talk about “long-ball” strategic stuff away from the usual obligations in the office and with clients.  One of the interesting (and difficult) lessons on “growing up” that Jay and I ever learned was being able to step away from IT Weapons and let our team keep the Weapons Grade ship on course.  Now that we’re 70 people strong, it’s easy.  Understanding who you can trust is incredibly important; Jay and I are fortunate enough to have an incredible team watching our backs.

Anyone who has ever created something they cherish understands this anxiety on some level.  It’s hard to let go, to step away, to trust things will be OK.  The parent who sends her daughter away to university.  The craftsman who sells a work of art.  The engineer who builds a bridge.  Having people you count on means everything.

A well known and instructive thought exercise in leadership and management circles is called the Mars List. Imagine you had to rebuild your business (or your department) from scratch on the planet Mars.  Who would you bring with you? Who would you send in your place?  Why? Articulating a list of your lynch pin team members helps you understand who you can trust … and often shows you where gaps exist in your responsibility and accountability matrix.  Who’s got your back when you’re not around?  What if you couldn’t come back?

It’s not just your IT systems that require a DR plan … so do you.

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