You didn’t have to be an Ohio State Buckeyes fan to cheer for Cardale Jones a few weeks ago when the third string quarterback led his team to a win over Wisconsin, forcing the Selection Committee to recognize the team’s incredible depth of talent and leadership and rank them in the Top 4. After injuries earlier in the year took out the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback and the second string QB, many people thought the season was over for Ohio. How could a third-string, bench-warming Jones possibly win with only one week to prepare for his first college game? But not only did Jones win his first game, but he led his team to defeat #1 ranked Alabama on New Year’s Day and will play in the first ever College Championship game on January 12. Whether they win that game or not, Ohio State is a striking example of the winning power of a deep bench.

Your company may not be a nationally ranked team, and your competition may not air on TV, but your bench is just as important. A recent hireMAX client faced a scenario common to almost every company: the departure of an employee in a key position that created a domino effect throughout the organization. A great employee was moved up to fill the gap, though he will need some training for the new role. But that created another gap, which is a little more difficult to fill. Moving a third employee into this gap will leave an important position vacant that has no obvious internal successor—the bench is getting thin, but the competition hasn’t slowed down. Ask yourself this question: if your company lost one or two of your best people, and everyone else had to move up a level, could you still win?

Succession planning is an essential tool, but no plan can cover every contingency. Life happens. People move. Tragedy strikes. How does your company deal with the unexpected? The best solution is to develop leadership at every level. Then your people are prepared to step up to the challenge when it arises. When your bench is strong, performance goes up across the board, and you never have to hesitate when a gap opens in your starting lineup. hireMAX is your trusted partner for leadership and team development to build a stronger and deeper bench, providing executive coaching, leadership and team workshops, and assessments of leadership potential. Call or email this week to get a free leadership assessment and debriefing for an employee on your bench. Are you ready to win

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Dr. Shero believes that leadership can be learned and that the best organizations intentionally develop leadership at every level. Leaders have the privilege of influencing other human lives for the better. That's why Phillip cares so much about learning to lead well and helping others do the same.

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