“Everyone is replaceable.”
That sentence frightens me. It motivates me to make sure that whatever impact I have — on people, on companies, on the world — is non replicable.
But. The best leaders understand that to build a great company, you need to always be training your replacements.
The best leaders put their egos aside.
Michael Bloomberg wrote here:
“I want the loss of anyone in the company to hurt us, but not fatally, including the likes of me. Every job performance review I give my direct-reporting managers includes the question, ‘Who’s your replacement? If you don’t have one now, I can’t consider you for bigger things. If you don’t have one the next time I ask, you may no longer be a direct report.”
I think that is a great way to put it. Joe Lonsdale goes on to add:
One of the most important jobs of a great leader is to attract great talent. How adaptable you are as a firm depends in part upon how your company is organized, but most of all it depends upon the people operating it. Internal leaders are sometimes secretly afraid to bring in ultra-talented employees because they fear that these newcomers could challenge their status at the firm. A talented executive whose interests are aligned with the firm’s and is confident in her role will always recruit stars who exceed herself in various ways, but one who is worried about her value to the firm will not.
Always be training the next in line.