How much difference can one person make to the survival of a business?

I used to say of him [Napoleon] that his presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men.

Wellington believed that Napoleon, through his personality and ability to lead, could inspire his men to such feats of effort and bravery that it made an army capable of confronting and defeating enemy of significantly greater numbers in an era when numbers mattered. Napoleon alone could make up a shortfall of 40,000 men!

In short, Napoleon made Grande Armée ‘tick’.

One individual can have an astonishing impact on how an organisation performs. They can be in high profile leadership roles or perhaps those operating below the radar of formal appraisal processes or company politics – the ones making a difference on a day to day basis that shape an organisations performance.

It is not always obvious who these people are but this can however become apparent when it is too late – when the individual is no longer part of the business. The person with the interpersonal skills and relationships, the confidante of the team, individuals capable of spotting trouble early and seeking solutions. These people are the ‘hidden gems and business owners need to identify them and bring them on in the organisation.


The first type of business insurance is retaining good staff. This means looking inside the organisation and working out who is actually making the place ‘tick’.

A second type of business insurance is to give the company some breathing space in the event that key people leave due to ill health or death (Key Worker Insurance). This should be near the top of the list of priorities for business owners. It is impossible to replace an individual but by insuring against this risk there will be a sum of money to help buy the company time to train or find a replacement.

In every organisation there are individuals that make a disproportionate contribution to the way an organisation functions – and they don’t necessarily sit at the top table when it comes to defining company strategy either. These individuals are the ‘hidden gems’ who can step up and take on more responsibility.

In your search for these hidden gems you might also discover another truth that Wellington so eloquently put on the eve of Waterloo when musing on the calibre of his own soldiers…

 I don’t know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me.


As with all financial products professional advice should be sought from a financial adviser before taking key decisions about key worker insurance and other forms of protection.

Get in touch to discuss the options available to you.

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