IntelliVen.com is a site for chief executive officers, managing directors, executive directors, and chief administrators; that is, it’s for the person in charge of any organization — no matter how large or small — and those who aspire to hold leadership roles. The work of the one in charge is never finished; the job is 24/7 and comes with a ubiquitous, omnipresent, and incessant sense of accountability to owners, investors, lenders, donors, customers, tax-payers, partners, employees and their families, and the local community. The mantel of responsibility is never unyoked, which may cause physical distress to those not cut out for the role, or the equivalent of a runner’s high to those who are!
The role and specific tasks vary considerably with maturity and scale, but the responsibilities listed below are core to the top job from day-one. Despite the clarity afforded by the list, deciding how to spend time hour-by-hour, day-to-day is far from clear for many if not most.
Specifically, many wrestle with whether to get work done themselves or to assign and develop others to perform the functions of their organization in an ever-more systematic, teachable, scalable, predictable, and reliable way. As Michael Gerber puts it in The e-Myth Revisited, it comes down to whether the one in charge wants to “make pizza” or “build a pizza-making business.”
When the person in charge decides to do personally what s/he believes is needed to get work done, no matter how right it seems at the time, s/he should consider the following, all of which can lead to less than optimal results:
- Time spent on a specific thing is time that can’t be spent on something that is more important.
- Everyone else in the organization will refrain from doing what the person in charge does for fear of upstaging or competing; the preferred assumption is that if the top-dog is doing it, they must not need to.
- Others in an organization tend to assume that what the person in charge does is right and correct, so they fail to think critically about it and fail to push back when they should.
The net effect is that the most important thing for the top-person to do does not get done, s/he ends up doing what others can and should do, but now avoid doing, and there is a lack of critical thinking which can lead to poor performance. The organization becomes constrained by its top person in its ability to grow and perform; and that top person might then wonder if s/he should work on being a better manager, or work on being a better leader.
The best figure out that it is not all about them. It is about their organizations and the decision to either manage or lead is a false dichotomy. The simple truth is that the one in charge needs to manage in order to lead and, indeed, can and should manage to lead his/her organization to achieve the stated vision. The top person’s job starts with managing his or her self to lead.
IntelliVen blog posts provide insights for current and aspiring leaders who want to build “pizza-making businesses.” The topics covered here are not from your parents’ textbook or an MBA lecture. What distinguishes this material is that it offers a chance to learn from those who have grown wiser from being in the trenches and who see every mistake and success as yet another opportunity to learn and to grow.
IntelliVen principals have managed to lead in many different businesses and situations. They have paid attention to what worked and what did not work, and why. They have consolidated lessons-learned and tested and tuned key insights that have led to the discovery of some relatively simple, but also hidden, truths about organizations and leaders that, once understood, can help those interested manage to be effective leaders.
The truths are shared in the posts and can change the odds for success in simple yet powerful ways. Current and aspiring leaders are invited to subscribe, read, contemplate, dialogue, develop their own points of view, and ultimately manage to incorporate what makes sense into their own approaches to leadership, both now and as their careers unfold.