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Your Family Business Needs a Deep Bench

This article originally appeared on hbr.org.

Whether business is booming or your organization is in the midst of a tough time, a crucial aspect of risk management is ensuring that your organization has bench strength — that employees have the depth of skill and experience to move easily into jobs of increasing responsibility. Is your staff prepared to step up if business grows rapidly, if new regulations or other world events make it more complex, or if a senior leader is suddenly unable to perform?

The importance of bench strength is often overlooked; we’ve all seen how day-to-day urgency can take precedence over the thoughtful development of the employees who might be needed to take a larger role with little notice. Family businesses are particularly used to making do with what — or who — they have, and they often deploy people in multiple or extended roles without considering the extra organizational vulnerability that these stretches can create. The following steps can help you strengthen your bench in both functional and organizational skills, so that you’re well-positioned to thrive in good times, and in bad:

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Onward and upward —

LK

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