It rained cats and dogs for the four days we were together. I can’t recall ever having been so wet for so long. Eight people who had never met each other before crammed into a small tent. We cooked our food from rations and made audacious strategic plans by candlelight while trying to keep the coffee grains out of the rain puddles. We had paid to do this—serious money, in fact. It was a hardcore 4-day leadership training that we had signed up for.
The training consisted of solving a number of outdoor challenges in competition with other teams. The challenges to be solved where not the training as such—collaboration under adverse circumstances was the point of it all.
It's a long time ago—more than 25 years to be honest—but I can still recall lots of details. More than anything I can distinctly recall the other team members, despite the fact that I had never meet them before and have not seen them since. But from time to time one or the other will show...
Who gets the last chef?
That was the title of my presentation for a group of managers. The title was inspired by a number of conversations that I have been having with clients. You can substitute "chef" for the type of critical position that is part of your current reality.
Reflecting on those conversations, I realized that there has been a common thread through most of them. They have all been concerned with:
On a daily basis, this is not so obvious. Therefore, it’s not a high priority, but it hits them every time a key team member needs to be replaced. Firstly, they realize that there is no obvious No. 2 who has been groomed for the job. Secondly, when they start the search, they quickly understand that there is not a lot of talents available out there.
The problem is that once they realize this, it’s a bit late to do much about it other than pray—