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There Are Too Many Managers in Executive Positions

There Are Too Many Managers in Executive Positions

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Published by Mac McIntire
There are too many people who have been promoted to the executive ranks who still think and act like managers instead of executives. Many managers at the executive level continue to maintain an operational or functional focus, failing to gain the strategic, business-wide perspective expected of an executive
There are too many people who have been promoted to the executive ranks who still think and act like managers instead of executives. Many managers at the executive level continue to maintain an operational or functional focus, failing to gain the strategic, business-wide perspective expected of an executive

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Mac McIntire on Aug 09, 2011
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There Are Too ManyManagers in ExecutivePositions
 
There are too many people who have been promoted to the executive ranks whostill think and act like managers instead of executives. Many managers at theexecutive level continue to maintain an operational or functional focus, failing togain the strategic, business-wide perspective expected of an executive.
 
By Mac McIntire, PresidentInnovative Management Group
 
 
©
2004, 2011, INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT GROUP, 840 Trotter Circle, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107, 702-258-8334.
There Are Too Many
Managers 
in Executive Positions
By Mac McIntire
T
his past week I spent the better part of aday in a one-on-one coaching session withthe president of a local casino company. Hewas lamenting about how difficult it is toget the members of his executive staff tolive up to his expectations. He wonderedwhether his expectations were too high. Itold him his expectations were appropriateand not the problem.The problem, I explained, is that in a lotof companies there are too many managersin executive positions. There are too manypeople who have been promoted to theexecutive ranks who still think and act likemanagers instead of executives. Manymanagers at the executive level continue tomaintain an operational or functional focus,failing to gain the strategic, business-wideperspective expected of an executive. Theypersist in managing their individualbusiness unit or department the same asthey did before (only from a higherposition), not grasping that executives areexpected to manage the business as a whole.They retain a provincial view of success,falsely assuming they should be rewardedwhen
they
do well, rather than when the
company
does well. Though they are on theexecutive staff, they continue to think andact territorially.Over the past 37 years I’ve worked witha lot of executives. I’ve also worked with alot of people at the executive level who I feltwere not functioning as executives. Frommy experience I believe there are somedistinct qualities and characteristics thateasily separate the two.
Executives Own the Whole Business
First, and perhaps foremost, executives
understand and take ownership for thebusiness
as a whole. They comprehend theworkings and ramifications of the entireenterprise, not just their portion of it. Theyare concerned about the cross-functionalelements of the business and are mentally,and sometimes physically, involved indecisions and actions throughout thecompany. An executive’s interests exceedthe bounds of his or her title of CFO, CIO orCMO. Real executives realize they areresponsible for all aspects of the business,whether an issue falls within their businessunit or not.When working with executive groups forthe first time I often ask the group to pointto the person around the executive tablewho is responsible for marketing,technology, human resources, etc. This tellsme right away whether I have a room full of executives or managers. Invariably, the“managers’ in the room point to the personat the table who has the title or functionalresponsibility for the area I identified.“Executives”, on the other hand, point tothemselves after each question. They takeownership for every aspect of the businessregardless of their departmental response-bilities.
Executives Don’t Wait toBe Told What to Do
Executives are
independent thinkers
.This doesn’t mean that they operate as anisland or don’t care about what othersthink. What I mean is executives can thinkon their own; they don’t need someone tothink for them. Unfortunately, somemanagers at the executive level still wait forsomeone “in authority” above them to tellthem what to do. Even though they are onthe executive staff, they look to the CEO togive them their marching orders. They havenot risen above the order-taking and order-filling ranks from which they came. Notrealizing they have been promoted to“General,” they wait for another General totell them which hill to take. They remainfollowers when they should be leaders.
Executives Have a Clear Vision
 
©
2004, 2011, INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT GROUP, 840 Trotter Circle, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107, 702-258-8334.
Executives make executive decisions.They step up to the plate and step forwardtoward the goal. They know which hill totake because they can see the field of battle. Almost every real executive I know has a
clear and unequivocal vision
 of whereshe or he wants to take their company,division, or department. They know whatthey want to accomplish and aredetermined to achieve it.When John F. Kennedy was the chief executive of the United States, he mappedout a clear vision for the future. This iswhat he said about one area of hisstewardship: “I believe that this nationshould commit itself to achieving the goal,before this decade is out, of landing a manon the moon and returning him safely toearth.” That declaration was made on May25, 1961, almost nine months before JohnGlenn’s first flight into space. JFK sawspace as “the new ocean” on which “theUnited States must sail and be in a positionsecond to none.” That’s vision!
Executives Think Strategically
Executives
think strategically
andpersist in an unremitting quest to positiontheir company to achieve continued successin competitive markets. Executives knowwhat is happening inside and outside of their business. They know their products,their customers, their competitors, andtheir industry. They focus on quality andservice excellence. They know how tooperate the enterprise efficiently andeffectively. They know how to lead andmotivate their employees to achieve optimalperformance.
Executives are Business-Oriented
Executives are always about thebusiness. They think about it most of thetime. They are driven. They know whatmatters most and they never take their eyesoff of the goal. They
know the bottom-lineand stay focused on it
. They don’t shyaway from the financial elements of thebusiness. In fact, they relish tracking andinfluencing the numbers. They arenumbers-driven and declare it openly. Almost every real executive I know has inone way or another made the statement:“Let’s not kid ourselves. We are here tomake money.” Sadly, many managers Iknow seem almost embarrassed to talkabout the numbers in front of theemployees.Executives know what business is allabout. They are not confused. They knowthe measurement of success in business isthe financial viability of the company. Theyknow they must increase revenue andreduce costs and never lose track of thebottom line. Everything else is anappendage to these two businessimperatives. Customer service, productquality, employee morale and the quality of worklife are means to a profitable end.When Roger Smith announced hisretirement as president of General Motors,a reporter asked him to explain how he wasable to survive 15 years at the helm of theautomotive giant. Without hesitation Smithimmediately exclaimed: “I didn’t survive 15
 years
at General Motors; I survived 60
quarters
.”
Executives are Accountable
I’m not suggesting executives shouldhave a short-term focus. What I am sayingis that true executives know exactly whythey are in business. They never for aminute lose sight of the fundamental metricof the business. Because they understandthis, real executives are
ever vigilant
 infulfilling their fiduciary duties. They accept
full and ultimate responsibility
 foreverything that happens within theenterprise. They know they must be awakeat the helm and have a heightened sense of diligence in running the ship.On January 17, 1950, the battleshipUSS Missouri was proceeding out of Hampton Roads on a training mission. TheCommanding Officer, Captain Brown, wasasleep in his cabin when the ship ranaground near Thimble Shoals Light. Although the first officer was on the bridge

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