He occupies the largest office in the building, the corner office, beautifully decorated, the furniture is of precious Tropical woods. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer great views of the city. At the private lobby, someone is always waiting for the next set of instructions. Brand-new car. Business dinners with drinks and exotic dishes; events that extend into the late hours of the night. Sunday brunch. Designer clothes. Wristwatch, very expensive…
That idea is sold to us through movies, television, social networks. Many entrepreneurs make this vision their main objective when starting their company. They want fame, glamour, a jet-setting lifestyle.
When inquiring about how to get to that privileged position, those same entrepreneurs have a very wrong idea of how to achieve it. The illusion of the “Head Honcho”, to the likes of Sam “Ace” Rothstein in the movie “Casino” or Gordon Gecko in “Wall Street”, does not resemble the reality of what is a true (and good) corporate boss, a Head Honcho.
Being the Head Honcho, the boss responsible for the company, is very different. At least it should be.
WHO KNOWS, KNOWS
Very often we think of “the boss” as someone who dominates his technical area and that is why he rises to the top, that is why he is a boss. We think that to reach the top it is necessary to spend endless hours at work, because the more hours, the more prepared we will be for the promotion. It is that theory of 10,000 hours of practice that leads us to the mastery of any activity. But having 10,000 hours of practicing the violin can make me a very good violinist, but it doesn’t guarantee me being the conductor of the orchestra. If it were for that logic, in a real estate company, the boss would have to be the best sales agent; in one of artificial intelligence, the best programmer; in a big casino, the best gambler or poker player; at Grupo Bimbo*, the best baker.
(* Grupo Bimbo, S.A.B. de C.V., known as Bimbo, is a Mexican multinational bakery product manufacturing company headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. It is the world’s largest baking company and operates the largest bakeries in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador and Spain, and has some of the widest distribution networks in Mexico and the United States.
LIKE THE GOLDILOCKS PRINCIPLE…
… everything in right amount. Because although it is true that the most technically proficient person in their area is not always the one who must lead, it is very important that a boss understands well what the company offers. Whoever assumes maximum responsibility of a company has to understand that solution that said company provides and is the reason of existence of the company itself. That boss also needs to know how to manage the resources at his disposal to achieve the main objectives. That is why business management is today a field of study in its own merit.
GETTING A JOB PROMOTION
The reason why we understand that someone “rises” in an organization has to do with an essential metaphor: a plain is clearer to us from the mountain. Other concepts used in management have a similar origin: a corporate map, competitive strategies and tactics, business vision and mission. They are all metaphors. It should not be understood that “the one above” is more than those who report to him. A promotion is an increase in responsibilities, not a stamp of genetic superiority over others.
The secret is that, being from a “higher” point of view, it is possible to see that distant objective and better understand the distribution of resources necessary to achieve the desired result. The function of a boss then is to know how to manage those resources. Think differently, vertically and laterally. The main job of a boss is that each member of the team under his responsibility has the resources they need to carry out the tasks assigned to them.
YOUR MISSION IS …
Thought of it this way, the way of looking at all this of “being the boss” takes a different meaning. It begins with the formulation of the tasks that must be carried out to achieve the desired objectives. The initial definition is important because those general tasks define the teams that will perform them. In turn, each team will also require a resource manager, to execute their mandates and to report them to someone else. Finally, these tasks and structures will define the functions that the workforce will have. The technology to be used is simply that: the necessary tools for the fulfillment of tasks according to functions. Better tools require more specialized labor to generate efficiencies when used. Poorly outlined tasks only generate unsatisfactory results, regardless of the technical competency of the team performing them. Poorly defined tasks are the result of having a bad boss, someone who “doesn’t know.”
A good corporate boss is necessarily a good resource manager, someone who understands each part of the company without having to master it, who knows how to surround himself with competent personnel in their respective areas, who assigns tasks properly, and who spends most of his time at the service of the team so that they do not lack anything that is needed. Not the other way around. Not otherwise.
Being a good “Head Honcho” is much more complex than it seems.