Redundancy

Multi-factor authentication. Disaster recovery. Load balancing. All critical components of tech strategy. Silently working to keep the lights on, day in and day out. Without them – risk to the business.

We architect our systems and technology in such a way to prevent single points of failure. As leaders, as engineers, like our systems, we must strive to make ourselves redundant.

We are not machines, we are humans. As such, we have emotional complexitiies. The sensitive parts of our humanity resist the idea of being easily replaceable. Individually, we are special with a unique amalgam of skills – our contributions, invaluable. Yet, as we celebrate the uniqueness of what we bring to the table, we must also acknowledge the potential for pride and arrogance to impede our growth. By reframing our perspective, we can uncover the true value of redundancy; the freedom it grants us to transcend individual limitations and embrace collective success. And also, while on a remote beach during family vacation, it pays off to be redundant.

In the corporate world, the concept of redundancy takes on a different meaning. It’s not about being expendable or replaceable; rather, it’s about building resilience and ensuring continuity in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

Recently, I’ve found myself reflecting on the true meaning of redundancy in the workplace. Some time ago, a key member on one of my teams decided to pursue other opportunities, and their departure was anything but smooth. As they exited, they left behind a wake of negativity, speaking ill of team members and not supporting those who would assume their responsibilities.

Facing such challenges, it’s easy to feel disheartened. But it’s in these moments that the significance of redundancy becomes clear. Redundancy isn’t just about having backup systems in place for our technology; it is also about building a culture of resilience within our teams. It’s about ensuring that no single individual holds the keys to our success, but rather that success is a collective effort, built on trust, collaboration, and shared responsibility.

Anytime I have faced periods of transition, I’m reminded of the importance of cross-training team members, teamwork, open communication, and spreading knowledge and skills across the organization so that no one person is irreplaceable – to mitigate risk of disruptions by employee turnover, illness, unexpected absences, and vacations. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve been reminded of the value of preparing for succession, of investing in the development of future leaders who can step up and fill the gaps when needed.

In the corporate landscape, in nature, as in ourselves, and through the lens of risk management and resilience, redundancy is a sign of robustness. By embracing redundancy in both our technology systems and our organizational structures, we can better prepare ourselves for whatever challenges the future may hold. We can also enjoy vacations and sleep better at night.

So, let’s embrace redundancy as a mindset, a way of working, a way of being. Let’s build teams that are stronger together, where success is not contingent on the presence of any one individual, but on the collective strength of the group.