You can identify a gapfiller quite quickly. They are the person willing to wear any hat, at any time, and simply do whatever it takes to get the job done. They can essentially move mountains and make it seem like it was nothing more than a rock to push aside. If you were a startup, you would want your whole team to be nothing but gapfillers.
However, as a business starts to grow, the results of the gapfiller becomes more of a double edged sword. Yes, they take a lot off of everyone’s plates, but they also keep others blind to potentially systemic issues within the organization. Most importantly, a gapfiller leaves an organization extremely dependent upon that individual being in place 24/7/365. A gapfiller is the one that makes others scared when they go on vacation.
So what’s the best way to solve this conundrum? The first key is to know whom your gapfillers are and what role they play within the business. As a company grows – process, consistency, and order become more necessary. It then becomes time to find where your gapfiller is best served to go next. Great opportunities for gapfillers are in situations where the roadmap to solve is chaotic and uncertain. This is where a gapfiller can thrive and once that particular opportunity is solved, they can be backfilled or moved on to the next challenge.
There are other names for gapfillers like superstar, hero, and GSD guru. Regardless of name, if used right, they are an invaluable asset to any organization to which they belong.