Never let one individual become so indispensable to your organization that he orshe is able to hold you hostage. By that I mean that the individual can withhold critical information (or threaten to), thus causing great harm to your company. A lot of this can of course be handled in a well-written employment agreement, but the reality is that if it’s avoidable, you don’t want to get into a legal wrangle with a key employee(s). I once came into a management situation where a particular employee was the only one who really understood how to use the information management system – he had written it. This person was quite bright and manipulative; it didn’t take him long to realize that his control over the organization’s information gave him an inordinate (and unintended) amount of power. He began to abuse his standing to the point where I was forced to quickly engineer redundancy into the staff, but such a situation (which became quite ugly and costly) would not have arisen had the need for redundancy been “on the radar screen” from the beginning. The lesson here is to work hard to avoid having a sole source of any key commodity (information, parts, intellectual property, etcetera) be in a position to hold you hostage. Trust me on this one – make it a priority in your planning.