Life is funny. We tend to concentrate on the things we have to learn to move up the social ladder but we tend to forget that is also a story of unlearning things we have done so far, changing habits that we have so meticulous built into the fabric of our life.
As you go up your role will change and if you want to be successful you have to evolve and adjust. Can it be done? Yes! Is it easy? Nope, but it’s necessary. What got you here will not get you there!
The best examples of such a difficult journey is what happens at work. First you are specialist that has to just do your job well. So you are obsessed with productivity, efficiency, catching latest trends. Almost everything seems to just depend on you alone. If you want to do get more results you simply have to do more (more hours or better usage of these hours). A lot can be achieved through brute force and you live mainly in the now. If you are lucky at some point you will become the manager. You will quickly discover that your skills are to a large extent useless at the new position and your goal is totally different. Now you are responsible for a bunch of people that have to do some work together. Obviously there are not as good as you were as a specialist so you get pissed off easily. They will occasionally get sick, their performance will be uneven and it will depend on their mood, weather, what is happening to them in their private life etc. Some of them will leave or you will have to fire them. As a replacement you will get new hopeless cases as stubborn and seeming as distracted as the old folks. Still, some of you will master this stage as well and you will become great managers. You will become more conscious how to do the work using your team, how to manage the team so it is an efficient collection of bright and dedicated people. As said it will require learning new things and forgetting the old habits. At the top there is the Holy Grail – becoming a Director or even CEO. This means finally a lot of power and influence and to make your job even better – plenty of money! This however, is even more difficult job position than the one of a manager. Here you have to be in two places at the same time: the present where there is a lot of fire-fighting and in the future where the big icebergs of problems can occur. As a CEO you are not actually managing a bigger team but rather trying to create an unsinkable ship that stays afloat and grows devouring others. Quite often the company is too big so all the tricks you have learn as a manager are no longer efficient. Moreover, as a manager you did not have to live in the future and guess what will happen to your firm in 5, 10 or 20 years. As a CEO you will become a bit paranoid and quite often you will do things seemingly irrational that will seem a stroke of genius only after a few years.
As you can see getting to the top is very interesting. Don’t worry it can be done without losing your mind. I have prepared a long presentation that will help you become a great (hopefully badass) manager and CEO. You can find it at below and at the bottom of this post.
However, before you move on to the presentation a few words that will help you decide what to focus on. This will be in a sense a summary of what you can find in the presentation
You will go through 3 stages during your career. Each and one of them has different goals, tools and impact:
- Personal productivity / Efficient specialist. As a specialist, an analyst you will concentrate on delivering your work at better quality more efficiently. You will go deeper in your area of expertise. You will also learn tools, methods and frameworks that will help you become more efficient. Here your goal is to simply create more value for the firm that you work at your position. Almost always you will be concentrated on creating value now. Future is interesting but it is beyond your reach.
- Effective manager. At this stage you are no longer responsible for your output but for the output delivered by your team. Their success becomes your success, their failure becomes your failure. For a manager the team members is the most important asset that he has to learn how to utilize to create more value for the firm. Therefore, your personal efficiency does not really matter that much. What matters is the joint efficiency of your team. How much work / value they can deliver. You still mainly live in the now, but you already have to start living a little bit in the future and worry what will happen if your best team members leave the company or some technology or trends make the processes that you are taking care of irrelevant.
- Effective / Badass CEO (or Director). At the final stage you are not responsibly for just a bigger team but you are responsible for the whole business. This will give you a lot of sleepless nights, especially at the very beginning. Here as I said you will be torn apart between the current affairs and the future threats & opportunities. You cannot neglect any of them because it will backfire in the worst possible way. At this position you have to learn how to work, how to understand the business, how to improve it and finally how to make it strategically sustainable
We know the stages let’s see what you have to learn, define on each and one of them
Personal productivity / Efficient specialist
Here as we said we you have to deliver simply more, faster at better quality with your own hands. Therefore, I would recommend checking the following resources:
- Management Consulting Productivity Hacks – will help you identify faster what to do and what not to do, how to organize your work to be able to measure and deliver more output on daily basis. Very actionable tips for everybody.
- Management Consulting Techniques, Tools & Frameworks – Consulting is famous for the efficiency of its employees (business analysts, consultants, associates). They achieve it by using some pretty advanced techniques. It will be a nice extensions of the basics that you have learned in the first position
- Essential Lean Manufacturing Techniques. A huge help comes from the lean manufacturing techniques. They have proved not to only useful in production setting but also in retail, services and creating startups. It is a must for every person that is obsessed with productivity and efficiency
At this level you will have to learn a few things. Below just a short summary of things you should do to become a badass manager:
- Change your approach and define your goals. As the first step you will have to define what does it mean to be an effective manager? We propose to concentrate on the work delivered by your teams. This means that a badass manager should NOT work directly but rather fully concentrate on making his team efficient, killing machine.
- Define values. Every group needs common values that helps them deal both with daily challenges as well as unpredictable events for which you cannot create a procedure. Before you start shaping your team members try to define the values
- Create the ideal profile of a team member. Before trying to make your team better you also have to define what the best means – what they should strive for. This will later help you define on what you should concentrate when it comes to improving your team members and getting them as close as possible to the ideal profile you have created.
- Create structure for cooperation. Every team needs some common ground, ground rules for cooperation. This includes standards, templates, tools that the team uses. If you make them common and widely used you will save a lot of time and increase drastically the output of the team. This will help you also reuse the already crated output for future work.
More details on being a badass manager you will find in the presentation How to be a great manager & CEO on slides 13-72.
Effective / Badass CEO (or Director).
The last stage is the most difficult one. In short you goal is to organize the firm in such a way that the business consistently delivers extraordinary results in the long run fast and efficiently. This requires from you a few things:
- Understand the role of a badass CEO. CEO is not just a manager of a bigger team. His role differs drastically from the role of the manager and as said previously you have to unlearn many things to be efficient CEO.
- Define things you should and shouldn’t do. There is too much work that will land on your desk. Therefore, it makes sense to decide at the very beginning what you will do directly and what you will NOT even consider touching. Many CEOs fail miserably at this very activity and they quite often do things they used to do when there were just a manager of a small team. In the presentation you will find some tips how to define this and avoid this common pitfall.
- Define your typical day as a CEO. Once you know what to do and what not to do organize your day accordingly. In the presentation I give some examples of how a day of a badass CEO should / could look like
- Create your personal team. Many things you will not be able to address given the formal structure. Therefore, you need your personal team that will analyze for you certain things (improvements, strategic threats etc.) and will help you deliver strategic projects.
- Create and deliver improvements. As a CEO you will have to deliver value creation for the shareholders. There are 2 ways to do that: small consistent improvements, strategic moves (M&A, expansion into new markets etc.). You have to identify both and plan how to deliver the selected options by providing sufficient resources. Your personal team will drastically help yet hard choices will have to be made.
- Make your business strategically sustainable. The last things is the preservation of the firm. What we have seen in the last 20 years is that the lifespan of firms is shortening. This is due to the fact that many CEOs think only about the short-run and do hardly anything to preserve the firm in the long run. In the presentation you will find a nice framework that will help you make your firm prosper for decades to come.
Of course more details on how to be an efficient CEO you can find in the presentation How to be a great manager & CEO on slides 73-297.
Enjoy the presentation and stay tuned for more good content. I also recommend checking my online course How to be a great manager & CEO. You will find there my in-depth comments on each and every aspect of being a badass manager or CEO. I have also attached a lot of tools that will help you achieve this goal. Check also my other courses that will help you achieve your goals