Many of us (myself included) love Steve Jobs, but that’s the problem – we can’t imagine Apple without him.

Today I’m reminded of Seth Godin’s comments during the launch of his Tribes book (in response to a question from the floor at 1hr 23m):

“Apple’s stock going down every time after time someone thinks Steve Job is sick? That’s a huge ego play for Steve – he shouldn’t do that. Steve should have a bench of eight people who are leading the tribe in eight really useful different directions so it won’t matter – he’s going to retire one day and you have to plan for that.”

The Telegraph says that Apple needs to act fast on Steve Jobs succession plan, but that would make it a reaction rather than a plan, right? A succession plan is something that you organise before the CEO gets sick, avoiding a drop of 8% in the company’s share price.

I think everyone should have a succession plan, including employees. For a few years now I’ve had the attitude of making myself redundant in any role I find myself in – if my employer or client still needs me after a long period of time, I can’t have done my job properly.

If in two years I’m the only one who can do my role, I’ve failed to share information and train others. If I’m the only champion for an idea after six months then I’ve failed to either create a valuable idea or to spread it. Instead of attempting to cling to my current role, I should be looking to outgrow it, ready for the next challenge. And as I do this I’ll add more value to my employer/client by sharing my knowledge and skills with other employees. In turn this makes more valuable to this client and my next – it’s a virtuous cycle.

Of course, I’ve never succeeded in making myself redundant, but I’m slowly getting better at it. Maybe one day you and I can make the share price of company go up on the day we leave, rather than down.

Get well, Steve.