One of the most frustrating things about bureaucracy is the runaround we receive when So-And-So is “not here today,” although So-And-So is the only person to perform the function we need.  This article will discuss one tried-and-true method to eliminate single points of failure in business.

This is the most blatant example of single points of failure. But as we look around the modern business world, don’t we see that just about everywhere?

From human resources to customer service; consulting to marketing; and middle management to leadership, we find missing links that render true efficiency impossible.

Take, for example, the notion that two people in an organization have the capability to notarize a document for the sake of the company. This is something that requires a license and some intense schooling, so the organization hires two notaries. Here’s the crazy thing: even if we’ve got two people capable of completing this action, we can still identify this as a single point of failure. If Notary #1 is on vacation, then Notary #2 cannot get sick, right? False. If Murphy’s Law still applies in 2019, we can bet our bottom dollar that both notaries will be out on a given day, and we must therefore hope that nothing too urgent comes down the pipes until the matter is resolved.

So how can we resolve this single point of failure? While it’s important that an organization have enough employees with the right skillsets to solve any officiating of business matters in-house, it is also extremely important that they be ready to liaise with other companies or organizations to complete business if all notaries are out-of-office. Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) have proven helpful to my organizations in the military; for example, if all three of my passport agents were out-of-the-office during a surge in requirements for passports, we always had MOUs in-place that allowed us to coordinate in a pinch with passport agents from outside of our organization.

At Barksdale Air Force Base we liaised often with Fort Polk, an Army installation just south of our location. This eliminated the need for us to tell Colonel X, “Sorry Sir, all three of our agents are out for the day.” That kind of single point of failure is not acceptable in the military, but without MOUs in-place, we saw it all-too-often across the Department of Defense.

Does your organization have MOUs in-place with other companies to ensure overlap in responsibility of all required tasks?

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