Peter Drucker said the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. So much of that work happens smack dab in the middle of companies. These are the top ten reasons why you, the middle managers of the working world, are more valuable than the CEO of your company.
1 – You know how stuff really gets done. Let’s face it - process maps mean very little when you know that in order to get your PC up and running again, the fastest route is to buy a muffin for Oscar in IT.
2 – You know what motivates individuals. You’re with them everyday. Sometimes it is cash, time off for a kid’s event or just some recognition. Whatever the case, you’re in a position to help and motivate more than anyone else.
3 – You know the customer well enough to get to the truth. You are them, they are you and there is a special bond. The customer will tell you, more so than anyone else, exactly what they need and how to sell to them.
4 – You know the vendors and what’s going on with competitors. All that time you spend shooting the bull with Marvin, who supplies the whole industry, really pays off when he tells you that your biggest competitor is never going to get their new product launch off the line. With that information and a few tweaks to your products, your company stands to make a killing!
5 – You don’t have to defend your original strategy. This is big. Since you didn’t devise the strategy you aren’t obligated to defend it. Instead you can tell it like it is.
6 – You have the skills to get people of diverse backgrounds to work together. That’s because you live with them everyday. There’s a big difference in telling people what to do and actually helping to make it happen. You know how to make things happen.
7 - You know exactly at what point your company is in the movie. You’ve been living it with your team and more than anyone else, you know if the team is ready to take the hill, or if they need to retreat and lick their wounds.
8 – You know the believers. When the team needs to get fired up, you know who they look to and more importantly, you know what lights those people up.
9 - You can motivate with humor. You’ve got their trust, and therefore you can joke a bit and have some fun. Fun is a great motivator, and you’re the one best positioned to get them all laughing.
10 - You have the power to heal. When things go wrong, you’re best positioned to get people on the path to recovery with a vision for the future.
In a business world where things are changing overnight and entire industries are being reshaped from manufacturing to music, transportation to telecommunications, it’s quite likely that the next great business model won’t come from the CEO but rather from you, the middle manager. Keep these ten reasons in mind as you go about your day-to-day business, and you are sure to come out on top!
Vincent Thompson is principal at Middleshift Consulting, and works with Internet companies to design world-class online marketing solutions and build sales organizations. His clients include Napster, StarStyle.com and Break.com. Thompson has spent fifteen years as a middle manager leading teams in challenging industries: first in restaurants, then in television, and now in the Internet business. He spent seven years as Regional VP of Sales for America Online, designing its sales training organization, and managing teams in SF, LA, Chicago and Dulles, VA. He has spoken widely on online advertising, and contributed to the textbook Media Selling.