Why does he want to be a manager?

“Where do you want to be in five years?” I asked Burt, the grandson of one of my oldest friends. Burt had just graduated college and was in the midst of job hunting.

Burt answered: “I’d like to have my MBA and be in management.” So I asked him why he wanted to be a manager. After a long pause, he said: “I suppose it’s because managers have more responsibility and make more money.” I suggested he may want to think a bit more about why.

In my experience, accepting a job because of the title and pay increase is not a path to long-term success and happiness. Greater compensation and bigger titles are recognition of the value you create for your organization. The strongest reason for stepping into a new job is because it magnifies the value you can create.

I wanted to be a manager because the dreams I had for our organization couldn’t be implemented without a team of others. The only way I could realize that next level of value was through others, with me as their coach and manager as well as coworker.

When I was made a vice president I asked, the president of the company why the board gave me the title. He answered: “Well, John, you’ve been acting like a vice president so we thought we’d just recognize it with the title.” Titles and money are recognition of the value you create.

As an organization grows, it exceeds the capacity and/or capabilities of the founder(s). Building a strong senior executive team becomes a key strategic requirement. As the organization grows even bigger, it will exceed the capacity and/or capabilities of those senior executives and it becomes imperative to develop a strong middle management team.

Make sure that you recruit candidates with the attitude and aptitude to work through others. Look for people with a passion to coach and assist the personal development of each member of their team. Unless your people display those qualities, promoting your senior sales rep to manager just so she has a “better” title and a bigger paycheck is as foolish as promoting your accounts payable clerk to a senior salesman just so he can have a more impressive title and paycheck. It’s bad for the organization and more often than not, bad for the employee (see my promotion strategies blog entry on 8/29/13 for more about this).

Identifying key positions to fill in order to support your strategy is part of the strategic planning process. It’s common for a company to identify recruiting, on-boarding, and retaining a key new senior team member as a strategic goal for the coming year.

If you’re interested in having a facilitated strategic planning meeting that moves you from concept to tangible implementation, check out our service offerings online, contact us, by email or better yet, give us a call at (800) 207-8192 to arrange for a complementary consultation to determine if you are ready for strategic planning and if our program is right for you.

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