Quote of the Day, September 15, 2013: “The good CEO would, in theory, be willing to go out and do every job in his company to best of his ability”

Continued from Quote of the Day, September 13, 2013……….The natural way of things, and what seems to be the best way to keep everyone healthy and happy in their jobs is that everyone has certain skills and everyone only has so much time. When people understand their roles and feel respected in them for being a valuable part of a larger working organism things tend to go well. Lower level employees might have very specific projects they are working on. Managers may have several that they are overseeing all at the same time. And again executives and CEOs have even more to juggle.

The good CEO would in theory be willing to go out and do every job in his company to best of his ability, just as he would expect from any of his executives on down to the janitor. The reason he’s not is because he’s got so many projects in scope, he couldn’t possibly do them all well enough and in time to make the whole company work. That’s it. If there were a way to be proficient at it all and timely and still not die of the stress and lack of sleep, a company owner or CEO or manager would do it. But humans aren’t designed to do it all. We are designed to focus on a few things, and work together with others who are focused on a few (related) other things. Together we end up building huge systems that do lots of good. But the building blocks of any company are its employees and when managers learn to respect them they can soar.

So a company owner has a huge vision to do and create and serve. But he realizes that his vision is actually too big for himself. So he goes to someone else and says, “Hey I’ve got this idea but I can’t do it on my own. I need help and I’ll pay you to help share the load.” An employee is born. But the owner has to constantly keep his own vision in check. Are their parts to my vision that are simply too dangerous, or perhaps immoral. Say the whole business is up and up but there’s this one facet that requires somebody to do something a little illegal. I’m not willing to do it. So I’ll hire someone who is willing, or needs the money enough that they’ll go against their better judgment out of financial desperation. That is not a winning strategy and that owner needs to reevaluate his company.

And of course it’s only the CEO or the owner that should be willing to do every other job in the company if needed. The hire the position, the more responsibility and the more of a servant attitude is required. (Same goes for politicians.) The CEO in one sense, is the guy indirectly asking everyone below him to do all the tasks they are working on, so he better be willing to do that task himself. The janitor doesn’t necessarily need to be willing to do what the CEO does though, or even the manager directly above him. But the manager above him, needs to be willing to keep his own office clean if need be. Oddly enough a company, ideally, is a pyramid scheme in which service goes from the top downward and out to the consumers. The owners and executives ideally are the biggest servants of all, serving all their employees. So that the employees can in turn serve the public. It seems though that we have no shortage of examples of companies that have turned this idea on its head.


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