Help Me Here

Help me here. Is there a difference between our business and our people? “No way”, might be your first reaction and knee jerk response. It was mine. That is the trouble with companies today – they pay less attention to the people and more attention to the business. Don’t they get that they are one and the same? That without the people there is no business?

Then I thought about again. What if there is a difference? A real difference? And what if we could leverage that difference, make it a competitive advantage for all of our key stakeholders, ourselves, our corporation, the financial community, and of course last but certainly not least, for our clients?
Think of it this way – if you have a toothache you go to a dentist. If you need your appendix taken out you go to a surgeon. And if you want your hair cut…you get the point. Although if you have ever read about the Old North American Wild West, barbers were also dentists… Nevermind. Keep reading…

We are in a business where our most valuable asset is our people and the intellectual property or better properties you all represent. It is our ideas, our programs, our relationships, our humanly designed applications that drive our engagements, win us business, grow our revenue, and make our clients come back for more.

Yet it is also our ability to control costs, to deliver on-time and on-budget, to protect our assets and grow our profits that excite the financial community, make our client relationships work smoother, and of course help us reward and incent as we should.

Funnily enough, the two are often at odds. Controlling our business and our people sometimes creates friction and has on more than one occasion led to poorly thought out actions by well intentioned executives who erred on one side or another.

The truth is, it reminds me of our notion CRM – remember? Do customers really want to be managed? You want the bank to manage your money, not your relationship.

And here, just maybe, is another lesson in leadership. Listen to the following thought:

“You cannot manage me into battle. You manage things, you lead people.”
– Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Does that change any of your perceptions? Might you behave differently? Would you demand different interactions from yourselves and from others? Can you see that this kind of thinking might affect your management techniques and/or your leadership qualities?

Try this one on – Microsoft believes that we need professional managers who have been trained and benchmarked to deliver project work. They also want us to have thought leaders who raise the level of engagement through the quality of ideas that we bring them. They see two career tracks – our industry has traditionally seen one. What do you think?

Can you see the difference between management and leadership in the outcomes here?

We need managers and we need leaders. Both are critical, both are equal, but both suffer if the other is needed.

Management and leadership. A great partnership that is not mutually exclusive. In fact, for the success of our business mutually inclusive. But maybe different… What do you think?

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