The Risk of Unquestioned Utility

Measuring cups are essential resources for cooks, mixologists, and scientist. They are cornerstones of a kitchen, bar, and lab. Remarkable functionality and easy to use. Except when they are not.

Measuring cups have a lifespan. The uniform scale erodes from sight, they break, or get lost. Suddenly we are confronted with the reality that we must perform a skill that once was automatic.

The same is true with the individuals on our team. The highly reliable and omnipresent volunteer that filled a key position moves away. The Board Chair who served sensationally for years announces it is time for succession. A sustaining donor develops a new passion and shifts their considerable contributions towards a different enterprise.

We take for granted the utility of the reliable. How might it benefit our efforts if we think aloud, ‘I wonder what would happen if….?’ Perhaps the succession plan is obvious and the next individual is ready to ride. Or, we see challenging terrain ahead that we must navigate before reaching stability again. Celebrate the utility of the marvelously positioned individual but remember their tenure is not without limits. Be ready to adapt and adopt when needed.