Every Business Owner Needs Two Bosses. Do You Have Them?

I just stumbled across an interesting 2 boss post from a couple of years ago on BusinessBlogs that’s worth the couple minutes it takes to read.

The two bosses suggested?

#1 – A Strategic plan (let’s not split hairs, if you read the article, over whether there’s a difference between a Business Plan vs. a Strategic plan — there’s no difference.  Your BP had best consider your strategy, your strategy best consider your business.  It’s that simple – 1 Plan, whatever you call it encompasses both so let’s just refer to it as your Plan for the remainder).

#2 – Outside eyes on you and your business.

With the minor qualification noted above and a bit bigger one I’ll mention at the end Mr. Blakeman is spot on.

Your Plan is a key aspect.  Give it some serious thought.  It’s a time proven axiom that those who “write it down” are far more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.  Measure everything of significance.  Anything that is measured and watched, improves.  I can all but guaranty.  Your Plan is the barometer to measure actual results.  That Plan is as critical to the CEO as anyone in the organization.  A sound Plan will help the Finder (see previous post) stay focused on the goals.  Hopefully keep focus on 1) Business Development 2) Managing the Minders (more later) and 3) Company Culture – clearly and simply reinforcing the mission and managing the tenor, the personality, and the moral of the organization.  Rarely, very rarely more – that’s a full plate.

To be fair most of my career has been spent in the #2 role in turnaround situations, trimming sails that were once full, helping to right the course.  It’s what I love to do – I’m just not a numbers scribe, a by rote status quo recorder guy.  Those guys are “accountants”.  Honestly that role bores me but it is still part of what I do.  I haven’t stepped into a position, flush with cash since my Paramount Pictures days and that’s some time ago when let’s just say the then President of the US had previously been employed in Hollywood.  Today I work with small businesses on a part time basis, for most of those intervening years I sat in the same chair for several organizations wearing the same CFO/COO hat each day.  Each company was feeling pain and consistently the Finder, the CEO was involved in far too much.  But that was the symptom not the problem.  Consistently those businesses either didn’t have a Plan or didn’t know where it was.  Other common denominators include:

  • Cash was managed poorly.
  • The Finder was not managing the Minders rather doing their jobs or just fending off chaos often as a result of my first point.
  • Customer service/quality control was all but nonexistent.
  • Customer churn ensued and not surprisingly margins had slipped vs. industry norms.
  • Expanding headcount and/or facilities optimistically vs. revenues.
  • 5 $25K employees cannot do the job that calls for one $125K person.
  • Technology wasn’t leveraged.
  • Clear, sound strategic thinking had seemingly flown the coop.  Actually, many times it was still there, but dormant, as too many were handling too many of other’s responsibilities to even have time to think.

But I digress.  Carefully craft your Plan.  Plan your work – Work your Plan.  Monitor what’s working, what’s not.  Adjust and move forward.  Repeat as necessary.  A well-conceived Plan is key to staying on task – if you’re the Finder and you’re busy with much more than the 3 points mentioned above we’re halfway to the solution already.

Finders, Minders & Grinders – every business has them and if their responsibilities are well conceived … and they’re handling them usually the sails are trimmed.

Finders” – They are not necessarily the people who lead all company employees on a daily basis. Finders demonstrate the type of leadership that “pulls” people into the future – employees, current customers and future customers. They’re:

  • Visionary
  • Idea generators
  • Innovators or dreamers
  • Catalysts for future change
  • Relationship builders or creators

In my experience Finders often become frustrated with the day-to-day grind of running a business, which often takes them away from their original goals when they started the business.

They live in the future.

Minders” – The first lieutenants manage the Finder’s vision so they can stay focused on the “rain dance” and refreshed.  For the most part Minders live in the past.  The best have their eye on the future, great “can do” devil’s advocates, can manage all the other Minders … trusted advisors that promote sleep but almost as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Grinders” – The necessary horsepower to get it all done.  They live in today.

Yes those eyes, as Mr. Blackman stated, that trusted advisor are key … but I am not boss #2 … there’s 1 boss …. I’m a sleep assistant … 😉

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