Your Bench Strength

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I am a college basketball junkie. I cannot wait until November when college hoops begins and this time of sports exile ends.  I just finished reading a great article on the Top 20 college bench players for 2012.  It is located at this link Bench.  I love thinking about the importance of the “bench” in business.

You had better be prepared with an exceptional bench because at any time that talented, seasoned and tenured “starter” could up and retire or move onto a new opportunity. The amount of time and money it takes to pull from that bench is significant.

Here are 5 questions to test the health of your business bench:

1. Do you have a plan for the succession of your leadership team?
2. What are you doing to develop your bench? I am not just talking about an annual performance review, which by the way is just one piece of the bigger picture.
3. What type of leaders are on your bench? Self-aware, well differentiated and strong?
4. Have you affirmed your “bench” by indicating to them that they are the future? Because if they are not a part of yours or don’t think they are, you can bet that they are thinking about being on someone else’s bench.
5.  Are you recruiting players to “backfill” that bench? If you are not, then you will have to recruit a transfer player or spend a bunch of time training someone else to understand your culture and processes.

Develop your bench because your starters will graduate and suddenly you are using walk-ons to win the national championship.