What are some consequences of being over-dependent on one person?

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Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
When you have a resource that is viewed as someone you can't afford to lose, you end up pandering to them. They’ll have a little skunkworks project that they're doing and since they’re buddies with other engineering teams here and there, it snowballs in the organization. Then you have a sprawl of applications and it’s hard to get things back under control. We've come across these situations in little pockets because people get enamored with whatever the flavor of the month is. That’s why it’s critical to adopt enterprise architectural standards, because although they won't eliminate that dynamic, they will reduce the potential of that happening. But you also need to consider: do you even want those people in your organization? They're dangerous.
1 Reply
CIO Strategic Advisor in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees

From past experience, those folks are toxic because they will play up the political leverage of who they know outside of your organization to better their own position, or entrench themselves even further into it. 

CIO Strategic Advisor in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
When you have people that are responsible for one particular thing, it's a risk. On one hand, they see that as job security. But on the other hand, it could also be an incredible burden that they're carrying and they may not realize it. Or in some cases they do realize it and it's so much pressure because they're not getting support. There are some telltale signs to look for, but you have to know which situation exists. You have to find and root out those pieces.

When I first enter an organization, I use an assessment process where I put people into three buckets. One is people that are along with the program and they get it. In the second bucket are folks who don't get it, but I can help them get there. And the third bucket is for those that either don't get it and have no interest in getting it. And those are the folks you have to work out of the organization. Because they are a risk, not just to my organization, but to the company.
CIO in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
From my experience, all it does is create bottlenecks. If this a great employee,  he/she/they will recognize that dependence, will speak up, and welcome help and assistance.  They know what it takes for the work to be completed better, faster, and share then shares knowledge to elevate those around.  If this is a good employee, he/she/they will sit on it and take more on themselves, but that just leads to burnout and will be a matter of time.   That person will leave - or will recognize the need for help eventually.   If they are not open to collaboration and cohesion, you know what needs to be done and move on.
CIO & CEO in Services (non-Government), 11 - 50 employees
Potential consequences which I may enumerate:
1. Beholdened by the one person
2. Work bottleneck at the one person
3. Burn-out of the one person
4. Power-centric toxicity if the one person is not of well nature
5. Risk of major business disruption due to the departure of that one person
6. Difficulty of kick-starting KM initiative due to bandwidth of that one person
7. "The capable does more" issue as per Chinese proverb "能者多劳".
    => The one person is being taken advantage of as the de-facto do'er of the job.
8. Job skill proliferation becomes almost impossible
9. Successor planning issue since handling over of deep domain is not trivial
10. Various forms of staff unhappiness due to the "unfair" arrangement
Director of IT in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees
In addition to the obvious ones like creating single point of failure, creating performance bottlenecks, one more factor to be considered is that over-dependence on one person is demoralizing for the rest of the team. Other team members may feel their work not being appreciated or feel less valuable to the organization and may be demotivated to put in their best efforts. 
Assistant Director IT Auditor in Education, 10,001+ employees
Ahh, what a question. I have experience this in a few companies, especially when that person developed an application that becomes critical to the business function. This is a big risk and organization can inadvertently implement/cause, as this person is a single point of failure when he walks out the door.

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