“No One Is Replaceable” @ Fast Company


This month in Fast Company I take on one of the most popular business fallacies out there: the myth that “everyone is replaceable.” When someone leaves our organization, we often think that they’ll be easy to replace — but this is getting harder to do, isn’t it? Why is this? How can we respond to these strange new hiring challenges?


What Happens When No One Is Replaceable?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard many variations of it throughout your work career: “Everyone is replaceable.” In practice, it sounds like this…

  • “If you don’t want to do the job, there are hundreds–maybe thousands!–of people who are desperate for work and we’ll go find them.”
  • “If you can’t do the job, there are tons of applicants out there that have your identical skills and we can bring them in to do it instead.”
  • “If you aren’t energized by the job… well, we don’t really care about that, actually. Just go do what we hired you to do!”

While we are used to hearing these sentiments–if they’re not plainly spoken, they’re often clearly implied–there’s a serious problem here: If you are a leader and you think like this, you are slowly rotting your organization from the inside out.





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“Why Your Organization Sucks” On The Agency Post


Recently I did an article for The Agency Post, which is an interactive publication for ad, PR and marketing professionals. It starts with an excerpt from my book, but then goes on with a customized end to illustrate some very actionable steps forward — if, by chance, you’d like to “un-suck” your organization in some way. Click on the logo or link below to read the whole thing!

The Agency Post

Why Your Organization Sucks (And How to Change That)

Yes, I do mean your organization.

But it’s not really your fault.

It just so happens that all of our organizations suck. And I mean this quite literally. They are life-sucking. Our companies — how they are structured now — suck in (at least) three ways:

  1. They suck the resources from our planet — often with no long-term thought of the repercussions.
  2. They suck the energy out of us — the people who work for them — by treating us like we are machines.
  3. They suck the meaning from our existence through pointless tasks that don’t create any authentic value for us or larger society.

Often they suck in the more “informal” sense by being too slow, too bureaucratic and too static.

The organizational systems we’ve built encourage slowness over speed and command and control over collaboration.

They emphasize process over passion and homogeneousness over imagination.

They reward rule-makers instead of rule-breakers.

But a slow, process-driven, rule-filled world isn’t the world we live in — at least not anymore.

Our companies are built for a different time playing by yesterday’s rules, not tomorrow’s.

They’re living in a world that doesn’t exist…




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A New Addition


Over the years, I’ve been publishing article-like content here, which has been great fun and hopefully added value to your life in some way. This year, in addition to providing you with tons of new ideas around company culture design, I’m going to begin sharing more of my personal stories on this blog.

I’m pretty sure I have the perfect way to kick this off.

I started my consulting practice, Strengths Doctors, in the summer of 2010, so in a few months my business — “my baby” — will turn 3 years old. This is great and everything, but it also happens to be occurring at almost exactly the time that my wife and I have our very first actual, human baby.

*Pausing for excited digital squeals from the ladies and vigorous virtual handshakes from the men.*

In a word, we are ecstatic. This is something we’ve been wanting, and to be completely transparent, trying to do for a couple years, and we feel inordinately blessed that it’s going to happen.

Of course, we also don’t have any clue what the hell to expect.

To borrow a word Scott Gerber introduced me to the other night, I’m entering the world of the “fatherpreneur.” Apparently, sh*t’s about to get real.

How does one juggle a growing business and a growing human being at the same time?

I haven’t the faintest clue. But I know I couldn’t be more excited to figure it out.


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