Key Point: If you or someone else is the constant “go to” person for getting things done, ask yourself why? I’m not talking about someone good at executing and getting results for what they’re expected to do. I’m talking more about over-reliance on someone, coupled with the other’s well-intended heroic service and desire to be really needed. When this situation continues for extended periods of time, it often becomes a collusive relationship and one that will likely build mutual, unhealthy dependence. It is also likely to have an unhappy ending.
It is so easy to get stuck in our ways. A process or system that relies on a named person and has not been changed for a while is ripe for improvement or elimination. If we don’t step back and determine if a process can be done more effectively, someone else or an external influence will likely force a change. We see that happening everyday with technology intrusion. For example, in an Apple store everyone is a cashier. You give them your credit or debit card, they slip it through the Square on their iPhone… Boom… Done. No more singular cashier roles.
- Be wary of “Superman” roles for yourself or others. If an individual, group or system is over relying on one person to get things done, it is often a signal that something is broken. I have seen this often when people are challenged applying technology and/or analytics. Rather than making the technology or number crunching more useable and scalable, we rely on a “Superman.” (I’m not talking about highly complex skills requiring specialization). We let someone else do our job because it’s easier (but not better) for all involved.
- Ask yourself if what you’re doing is really of sustainable value or is it because only you have the knowledge to work the system at this point in time. If it’s the latter and you’re the Superman, your cape will get tugged. It’s only a matter of when. If everyone needs to have access to what essentially only you know, be abundant thinking enough to figure out ways to scale it. Don’t be a bottleneck by having people being dependent on you. It’s counterintuitive but you’re more vulnerable to get replaced because of artificial dependency.
- Become highly valued for your attributes, critical thinking, ever-evolving masterful knowledge on a subject area and ability to teach others. Avoid being valued because the system becomes dependent on you. It’ll feel good for a while, attract lots of recognition, but a sucker punch is coming.
Better than Superman in The Triangle,