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Being Replaceable Is Best for Business Continuity

It is said that information is power — and it is, but it’s deadly for business health when managers fail to develop subordinates so they can step competently into their shoes and run the show.

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Bosses and managers must do this. Dealership leaders need to know that should we be on vacation, out ill or even dismissed, we’ve done the right thing by helping our subordinates fill our shoes and take over.

I’ve learned that protecting turf to protect my job is foolish. The better strategy is to take all the “wisdom” and experience and information I’ve held close over the years and push it to those I work with.

I committed to stop believing and acting as if I were indispensable to the success of my business. I had to stop over-managing and requiring every decision to be run by me. 

What I had to learn was, if the people I hired couldn’t do their job or make decisions, then I had hired the wrong people. I had to learn to trust.

I’ve got great people here – I know they can do my job in their sleep. Still…

So, it takes courage to let go and trust. Not only is being replaceable better for your career but for the continuity of the business.

It’s better for your career because you’re a more efficient leader; you create valuable assets; by developing subordinates to fill your shoes, the business grows more capable and healthier.

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And in an industry environment where efficiency — improving efficiency — has become so critical to ongoing operations, focus on business continuity needs to be front and center.

This has been an evolution for us. As a business founder and chief executive officer, I used to need to spend 95% of my time in the trenches. But now, I have groomed capable talent to service clients competently; interpret the data our services create about inventory choice, pricing and internet marketing; and use that insight to improve dealership operations.

I’m not saying it’s easy to step down from the throne. Still, if your department or business is to have a reasonable hope it can continue operations through even a pandemic, you must stop protecting turf and invite in subordinates to learn and do your job.

Hoarding kept me trench-focused, majoring on the minors. Freed from that, realistically and mentally, I’m better able to think strategically to service customers and their changing needs.

I’d heard it all my life: A great boss finds and develops people who one day can fill his or her job. Keeping your job by doing good work is a good thing, but the main thing is the continuity of the business. 

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Let me know what you think.

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