It’s no longer breaking news that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, is taking a medical leave of absence. This is not the first time that Jobs has had to hand over day-to-day operations for medical reasons and, unfortunately, probably won’t be the last.
As with any company, the strength, and in this case, health, of the companies leader plays a vital role in the publics perception of the companies financial strength and viability. This is clear by Apple’s stock slump following the announcement of Jobs’ leave of absence. However, Apple has been in the situation before and appears to have plans already in place to make sure that the public feels comfortable that Apple is in good hands.
With this blog, we usually focus on new design trends, social media and experiencing life online. However, I decided to briefly depart from that general focus to discuss a more general business lesson that is vital to companies of all sizes:
Train those beneath you to do YOUR job!
At first glance, I understand that a lot of people would be fearful of this idea. Why would I train someone below me to do my job? Wouldn’t that make me expendable? You’re right. This is a legitimate concern. However, can your business afford to take a hit if, for some reason, you can’t perform your duties and neither can anyone else in the office? The answer is no.
Jobs’ health concerns are a great example of this. Having been through this issue before, Jobs’ can take his leave of absence knowing that he is leaving Apple in good hands, COO Timothy Cook’s, who has taken this role before.
Health is obviously not the only concern here. Do you ever take a day off? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could continue your work while you are gone? Furthermore, as your business grows, there are going to be opportunities for those on the bottom rung of the ladder to take on additional responsibilities and roles. Wouldn’t it be great if, when those opportunities come along, those individuals already knew how to handle the additional responsibilities without additional training?
I’ve been with Fresh ID for about a year now. One of the greatest things I’ve experienced so far is the transparency. From day one, those above me have kept me in the loop 100%. I’ve seen the business from end to end and have gotten to experience a lot of things that I didn’t expect to experience. Because of that transparency, there are a lot of situations where I feel comfortable stepping up and handling responsibilities that don’t necessarily fall under my job description.
Below, I’ve listed some pieces of information and experiences that you want to make sure ALL of your employees know and are familiar with. These are things that I, as someone in training, would definitely want to know before I felt comfortable handling extra responsibilities.
- Who are we?
- What does our business do?
- What are our goals?
- What are our clients’ goals?
- How does work move through our organization?
- What type of conduct do we expect during meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.?
- What is the process from receiving a lead to signing a client?
This is just a starter list. In my opinion, the best policy is transparency. The more transparent you are with your employees, the more comfortable they will be if they need to step in for you for some reason. Spend time with them and let them see you do your job. There is no better way to learn a skill than to watch someone who already knows what they are doing.
You owe this to your employees and your business… but most importantly, to your clients.