Most business owners wear several hats. They are not interchangeable, and you can’t wear them all at the same time. You must continually be asking:
“Who am I here?”
Ultimately, for your business to grow and thrive, you have to settle on the one with the best fit, and pass the others off.
The E-Myth by Michael Gerber makes strong distinctions between being an Entrepreneur, a Manager, and a Technician. In condensed form, we could say:
- The Entrepreneur creates the Vision.
- The Manager creates the Systems.
- The Technician creates the Results.
Each character requires a different hat.
All business owners have qualities of each, but where they most often lack confidence or expertise is in that of The Manager. Makes sense though, right? The E-Myth states that most businesses are started by technicians suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure. Being a manager doesn’t even come up in that scenario.
Invariably, after serious self-examination, a business owner will conclude: “What I really need to do is to hire a Manager.”
What a Manager Needs to Be
Certainly, an effective manager has the potential to take on some of the accountabilities that command so much of your time. But how is this by itself really going to support your vision any closer to reality–and without bloodshed?
Back to the hats: In the development stage of your business, they’re all yours to wear. You must be able to look at your business from each of the three distinctive points of view. As The Entrepreneur, you have the sole authority and responsibility to determine the direction of the business. How will the business be positioned in the world; in the eyes of its customers, employees, lenders, vendors and the larger community? The Entrepreneur must determine and constantly reinforce the company’s intention.
The Entrepreneur’s vision is The Manager’s marching orders; the vision is the gold standard. The Manager’s duty is to enforce and manifest the vision.
Ultimately, managerial work bridges the space between the entrepreneur’s vision for the company and the daily technical efforts moving the business toward that vision. Effective managers, those who can motivate employees to reach their full potential while working on beneficial tasks, are instrumental in building turnkey, systems-dependent businesses.
What a Manager Needs To Do
A Manager must have several critical characteristics. One is “know-how.” Some managers arrive with some “know-how” intact–knowing what to do and how to do it—getting work done through other people (Technicians). At a minimum, effective managers will have the ability to find out how to do that. Knowing how or knowing how to find out how is one of the minimum required skills of a successful Manager.
The other essential characteristic of a successful Manager is the ability to transform that know-how into processes and systems that will enable people to get the desired results.
The only effective processes and systems are those that will achieve the Entrepreneur’s vision. Those processes and systems are the tools the Technicians use to get the results that fulfill the vision. The Manager does not manage people.
The Manager manages systems. People are unmanageable. Systems are not.
People respond to orchestrated patterns. Within those patterns (systems and processes), people can manage themselves! Let me say again: People are unmanageable. Systems are not.
An effective business must begin with the vision. The effective Entrepreneur creates a compelling vision and infuses it throughout the entire organization. The effective Entrepreneur lives the vision. The effective Manager translates that vision into systems and delegates the tasks to the Technician. The effective Technician operates within the system to create the results that move the vision forward.
A successful business owner does not wear all the hats at once. The owner of a successful business must practice the art of discrimination. Business Owners must know what is appropriate at any given moment, what characteristics are essential when wearing that hat, and when it is time to pass it off.
The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber is a must read!