Working… like a boss

The economist has an article this week that implies bosses should spend less time courting clients and more time coaching and strategizing:

The most diligent put in another 20 hours [over 48]. And the longer they work, the better the company does.

And

Bosses who work longer hours, by contrast, spend more of them meeting their own employees.

Agreed on all counts. I remember hearing a CEO telling a student conference to simply outwork the competition and you’ll get to the top. Running the shop is a deal with the devil, I think. You’d better love it, because it’s probably all you’re going to have in your day.

I also like the commentary about how CEOs need to be more inwardly focused on their companies. Typically, the most important people in a firm get promoted to the top and the most important people in most firms are the people who generate the business.

You do what you’re best at, and salespeople are best at selling. Can’t blame ’em, right? But remember Gordon Moore: “every salesman thinks he’s management material”.

One last comment on this abominable bit:

But not every boss thinks he needs more time for thinking. “You can hire McKinsey to do that for you,” says one.

No doubt the reporter crapped himself running back to his newsroom with this little gem. I can’t believe it’s true that any serious executive would think like this.

It does remind me of a chat I had with a friend who works in the outsourcing business: “you never outsource your competitive advantage, no matter how cheap”.

Do that, and you’re dead meat.

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