There are very few journals, books or primers on how to coordinate all of the needed skills, personalities, priorities and processes to execute general management well. These articles are my own attempt to pull together some of what I have learned, to clarify my own thinking, prioritize my own approach and to share with others.
Much of this effort is an amalgamation of what I have learned from others and a threading together of best practices that yield high value results. The pieces fit together rationally as a whole, but the picture is colored by an appreciation for what works and what doesn’t work from my own experience. As I consider what to include in these chapters, I mean to write about what I believe are real areas of focus and what leaders really need to do in the course of managing their companies.
Much of what is included here is widely understood but much is also rarely done. I think that one of our biggest challenges as leaders is to stay focused enough to do what we know we need to do amid all of the potential distractions and chaos of daily events. In these articles, I will try to emphasize potential pitfalls, what is important and needed to successfully run your business, as well as tools, processes and guidelines that I have used or seen to be successful. This section of the website provides an overview to “holistic thinking” in running your business. Other sections, Strategy & Execution, P&L Management, and Product R&D provide a deeper dive on the many parts of combining a creative approach and operational excellence to create lasting differentiation.
But to frame up this section, imagine you are walking into a new role as a General Manager. You will no doubt have some idea of what the most important areas for immediate focus are. In the job interview, working with the Board or other senior management, the hottest items or key areas for focus will surely have been discussed. Product quality, supply problems, slipping schedules on new products, marginal sales collateral, training and sales operations or many other issues could be highlighted. You WILL want to accept this guidance and address the highlighted issues, but you must also remember your training and experience – what got you the job in the first place – and take your own careful look at the entire business to understand what is needed to be successful and what your list of priorities needs to be. Granted, you will likely start where those that hired you indicated you should, but you will need to make the rounds to all functions of the business – iteratively – to understand problems and also to find hidden treasure.
This “Running the Business” section provides a check list of what to look for, things to consider through your survey of the business and some possible remedies for problems in the different disciplines that you will need to manage to be successful.