This article, written by Rick Dacri, was originally published in the York County Coast Star)
There is nothing more energizing to a company than growth. Increased sales, positive cash flow, an expanding customer base, outpacing your completion. It is very exhilarating for executives and employees.
But with this excitement comes challenges. Growing from a small company to a large one requires outstanding talent. Talent that can adapt, change, thrive and deliver. Growth brings newness, unpredictability, ambiguity, and often stress. Having equipment, capacity, sales and cash will only prove helpful if a strong team is ready and able to step up. In sports it is called bench strength.
Red Sox manager John Farrell enjoyed the upper hand over the St. Louis Cardinals in last year’s World Series. Farrell had one of baseball’s most productive benches. Being able to look down the bench, seeing the right player to send out on the field at a critical time in the game proved to be a significant advantage, propelling the Sox to the championship.
I recently spoke to a business owner who was looking at doubling his business in the next two to three years, expanding his facility, and opening his business to some new, promising markets. Yet, his excitement was tempered by the sober reality that his bench strength was weak—strong enough for today, but lacking in capability for what loomed ahead.
So what steps should an organization take to build bench strength?
- Know What You’ve Got: Evaluate your current staff. Their ability and willingness to change, adapt, and learn are essential traits. Ongoing assessment of your employees will allow you to know your current capacity and determine what your future needs will be. At the same time, through training and coaching, you can begin to raise skill and performance levels. All high performers should have a development plan in place to ensure future readiness. While growing your staff is a critical first step, sometimes individuals who performed in the past will be unable to help you in the future. Bench strength means having high potentials that are ready to step into new roles. Difficult decisions must be made. Continue reading
(This post was written by Rick Dacri, October 1, 2013)
Vince Wilfork, the New England Patriot’s star defensive tackle and team captain was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and will be lost for the rest of the season. This is a major blow for the team. But with or without him, the game had to continue ands he was replaced immediately by an undrafted rookie and later by a player who had been cut by two other teams. The Patriots won the game.
Injuries are a fact of life in football and successful teams know this and prepare for it. They develop strong benches. Drafting the right players; trading for others; continuously training, coaching and mentoring younger players; and always developing their players to be ready whenever they are needed.
The Patriot’s success over the years can be attributed to their strong bench. What about your organization? If you suddenly lost a key employee, do you have people ready? Is you workforce well trained, versatile, and ready to step in when they are needed? Remember, like the Patriots, your success is dependent upon it.
If you would like to learn how I could help you develop a strong bench for your company, give me a call at 207-967-0837.
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For New England Patriot fans, it was very difficult to see the pained look on Rob Gronkowski’s face as he walked of the field injured last Sunday—lost for the game and season. Earlier Danny Woodhead, this year’s surprising star performer, was also injured. In spite of these losses, New England was still able to win convincingly.
In the rough and tumble game of NFL football, teams must have a deep bench to be competitive. New England has mastered the art of recruiting and developing versatile players who are ready to step in anytime—and because of this they will be defending the AFC Championship this Sunday.
What about your organization? If you sustained a loss of a key employee, would you have someone ready to step in? I recognize most organizations do not have the luxury of having a bench filled with players who can be called upon when needed. But, if an employee is unable to perform, the business still must be able to operate. You need to have a plan. Versatility within your workforce is critical.
I am hoping the Patriots will once again return to the Super Bowl this February. If they do, and I think they will, it will be because of the depth they have on their bench.