Staffing the grand canyon

A key team member goes on PD leave.  This doesn't leave a hole in your office, it leaves a canyon.  Why?  Because in addition to getting the job done, day in and day out, these kinds of employees, the kind worth investing in:

  • forge personal relationships that work with each individual client.
  • are self starters.
  • come up with new innovative ideas (and see it as their job to do so.)
  • love to experiment.
  • are status quo killers.
  • make your job easier.
  • challenge their peers.
  • challenge you.
  • love change and technology.
  • have options (so treat them well.)
  • know it's possible you may work for them one day.

Do you temporarily miss their skills?  Definitely. But their absence is also an opportunity.  Instead of trying to patch the canyon-sized hole, use it to develop other talented members of the team.


  • Helping them to forge relationships with important clients.
  • Increasing their supervisory responsibilities.
  • Exposing them to challenging leadership opportunities "by fire", with meaningful discussion and development time afterwards.
  • Asking them to weigh in on new business and strategic planning.

The worst thing that can happen is that other members of the team start to realize they're as good as the person you sent for upgrade.

Or, they'll screw up - but last time we checked, that's still the best way to learn.