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16 October 2011

Disconnect-Reconnect

Occasionally a business has to go through restructuring. We're seeing a lot of that across our country today. Some of it is well planned and the organization doesn't experience the coughing, stumblings of more sudden changes. In many respects it can resemble a stroke. Each company has connections between the employees and everyone they deal with. They deal with each other and they deal with contacts in other branches and with people outside the organization. This is not unlike the connections in a brain and nervous system.

When the stroke happens, there are one or several, usually several disruptions to those connections through lost revenue, layoffs, employees leaving for other firms, etc. These major disconnects necessitate the development of new connections to so that the customer can continue to enjoy service at the level that they've had all along. The parts of the organization have to work together differently in order to meet the same goals and expectations.

Thinking of preparedness as the lens, the employees in an organization should have sufficient cross training such that there is no noticeable hiccup when one of them is out. Everything should be transparent. Each employee should have documentation of processes of their primary job and whatever other areas where they help out. This package should include contact information and logon information for each task. There should be a copy at the employee's desk as well as one maintained by the supervisors.

20 years ago I was reluctant to share knowledge for fear of being replaced. I had to do it because I needed people to cover for me when I was out. Because of my attitude whenever I'd come back from a vacation people would come to me saying "I sure am glad you're back." One might be encouraged to think that the trainee was doing a shoddy job. That wasn't the case here and is probably seldom that way. It's garbage in and garbage out. If I do a shoddy job of training my backup person, they're not going to perform any better than they've been taught. It took a long time for me to learn that failing to share what I know does not equal job security. I wasn't into prepping and didn't think this way. I should have left there, whether on my vacations or when I finally resigned in a prepared state. I would have been more valuable to that company than I thought I was.

I don't want to give the impression here of any kind of perfect world...just the way things ought to be. And things are seldom the way they ought to be

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