Every company, division, team and even individual looks at potential risks within their day-to-day movements. Risks can be present everywhere you look, from crossing the street to making a decision on an acquisition or deciding to implement a new system across your division. Risks are all around us vary in degree of seriousness.

But is your company at risk because of one particular type of person?

You are probably all thinking about a few people in your team or in departments on other levels. The people who shoot down everyone else’s ideas in meetings, the ones who do the bare minimum at work and walk out the door at 4:58pm having packed up 15 minutes before then. Or maybe the people who are innately selfish and are using the company or the team to get ahead irrespective of the overall consequences for everyone else.

Think Again!

The person or people that you have probably not thought about are the super high performers. They go by a lot of different names, ‘The Gun’, ‘The Guru’, ‘The Unicorn’, the person we all love having in the office and who we hate to imagine what would happen if they weren’t here come next Monday. This person is potentially one of the biggest risks to your entire business!

I bring this person to your attention, not because I think that they will become bitter and twisted and will bring the rest of the team down. Not because they are going to turn selfish overnight and will start conducting fraudulent behaviour. It’s because they are a massive risk if they leave the company.

We have all seen the impact that Cameron Smith has had on the QLD State of Origin team. Much to my great delight as a New South Welshman, QLD have lost and replaced a number of key players over the past 2 years and will need to do so again over the next 12 months. Undoubtedly the biggest hole for them to fill has been that of their inspirational and influential captain, Cameron Smith. He has been their guru, their unicorn and gun for over a decade, so how do you replace that?

Looking abroad but staying within the sporting arena, we have also seen the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA lose their biggest star in LeBron James. Anyone who can command $158 Million over 4 years and is known universally as “The King” will be a big loss when they leave. But to see the betting market fluctuate so wildly during his contract negotiations was incredible. LeBron finally agreed to a monster deal with the LA Lakers and soon after the Lakers’ odds of winning the 2018/19 championship went from 20 – 1 into 4 – 1. The Cleveland Cavaliers on the other hand went from 30 – 1 out to 500 – 1 after losing “The King”.

Staff retention.

This is a big concern, not just for sporting teams but within most successful businesses as well, as they realise the time and cost that will be swallowed up to replace anyone. Even your lowest performer can cost your business a large amount of time and money to replace, let alone your unicorn! This is something that we here at Optimum work with our clients on. We help to put in place solid strategies to minimise turnover as well as plan for it when it does happen.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been contacted by the LA Lakers to implement a retention strategy. However, I’m sure they would have had contingency plans in place if they didn’t land LeBron and would be putting in place certain things to help keep their new star happy and performing at his best.

Most businesses can spend a significant amount of time and money to bring up the performance of their lowest performing staff. The old saying of “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” is exactly what can happen if a team or individual lags behind. But are you spending enough time and energy supporting your unicorn?

Is your Guru gliding along smashing KPIs left, right and centre but secretly are feeling underappreciated? Does your company know what your Gun is actually thinking?

I would challenge any organisation reading this to ask themselves, who is our star performer(s) and what would we do if they suddenly left? Perhaps a more important question to ask is how do we stop them from wanting to leave?

The team at Optimum can shed some light on all these areas. A small adjustment right now could save you a lot of time and heartache down the line. After all, unicorns can be hard to find!


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