Who Wants To Be In Charge?

Derek Underwood was one of the great England spinners. He was once asked if he would be putting himself forward for the vacant England cricket captain position. His answer was simple. “No. Why on earth would I want to do that?”

We’ve all seen the top salesman who gets promoted to sales manager and has no people management skills. Great talents and great leadership skills do not necessarily go hand in hand.

In my experience of several cricket clubs, the captain is often the person who didn’t turn up to the AGM and got voted to the position in their absence.

It is a genuine mystery to me why so many people want to get into management. Many, maybe even most, small businesses are set up by people with an idea and/or a vision, a way of doing things better. As their business grows, they are forced to learn new skills, to do things that may not be natural to them.

An oft quoted business advice saying is ‘work on the business and not in the business’. But what if you don’t actually want to be the boss, with the ensuing responsibilities such as having to deal with staff problems? What if making widgets is actually all you want to do?

I know of one business owner who employed a Managing Director and then continued to work on the shop floor. It’s important in any business to match the skills required to do a job to the skills of the person doing that job. Seems obvious, but how often does someone fall into a role because no-one else would do it, or because they happen to own the business?

Which begs the question – who is the best person to run an adviser practice? Does the MD have to be an authorised individual? Some people in our industry seem to feel that ceasing to be an adviser in order to run a business is somehow arrogant. I think it’s perfectly logical, if that’s where the individual’s skills and enjoyment are. There are more and more practices where the advisers have got together and chosen one to manage the practice, allowing the others to focus on advising.

What do you think?

Chris Budd has published his first novel, A Bridge Of Straw – more info here