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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