This past week has been an active one in NFL Free Agency. If you follow the National Football League like I do, you may experience the same level of anticipation and excitement.
There have been numerous transactions involving quarterbacks. Teams have signed and traded away and for their “field general,” referred to in the league as QB1. For those that don’t follow the game, that’s the first-string quarterback.
Here in my city, the Seahawks traded their franchise quarterback over the last decade, Russell Wilson. Green Bay signed Aaron Rodgers to a contract that will likely keep him on that team for the rest of his career. The Browns made a blockbuster trade to acquire DeShaun Watson, in spite of civil litigation pending against him. And just the other day, Tom Brady at age 44 came out of about a 30-day “retirement” to return to Tampa Bay. Each of these organizations were desperate to find the right person to move their teams forward both now and into the future.
What does this have to do with business?
Each of these teams are their own business. They have revenue, employees, a board of directors, investors, and clients (aka the fans). They are active in their respective communities. They move the needle on the news, even when it’s unrelated to the sports page.
The QB1 is often the face of the franchise. They are by default the leader of the team. They carry out the mission and vision of their bosses, the Head Coach and General Manager (see COO and CEO).
As with every business, relationships with key employees – especially those that are considered essential to success – can become frayed and fractured. Often, as in the case of Green Bay and Rodgers, they can be mended and improved. However there are times, as in Seattle with Wilson, it becomes clear that it’s in the best interest of both parties to move on.
A large part of risk management (and often one that isn’t considered) is leadership. In small businesses, the leader and CEO are usually the same. As a business grows, that founder may start delegating leadership responsibilities to others. Regardless, the identification and development of a leader is critical to success.
Take a look at your “team.”
Who’s your leader? Are they aware they are the leader? Have you provided her or him with the resources, tools, and education to achieve success in that role?
How about their “backup?” What if your leader leaves the organization either because they want to or you do (or both)? Have you a plan in place to adequately replace them either internally or from outside the organization.
Leadership is a component of risk management. If you want to avoid putting out the proverbial “fires” that occur because of lack of leadership, then make sure you’ve created your own strong QB1 position. That person must be provided the confidence and tools from the organization to achieve and be the face of the business, even if it’s only from inside the company.
It’s also negligent to avoid creating a human redundancy. While your QB1 may be great and happy in their position, life has a habit of causing chaos. Not being prepared to immediately insert a replacement in your game if something happens is negligent to the team.
Bottom line, in order to be a championship team in your business, you need a a strong leader. You need your own QB1. And it’s your responsibility to help them achieve and create backups for the good of the company and your profitability.
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