Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting Paid: The Price of Leadership

When I typed in "leadership" in Google I got back 178,000,000 hits, and I am sure by the time this gets posted, there will be several thousand more. Based on this piece of raw data, plus my own experience on both a personal and professional level I have jumped to the conclusion that it is (a) a topic of interest to some and (b) the answer has yet to be found.

So, what does this have to do, if anything, with Getting Paid: The Price of Leadership? I'm not sure, maybe nothing, but I could not think of a more catchy title on the spur of the moment.

What got me to thinking about this at all was a post I saw on Kent Blumberg's blog a few days ago in which he was writing about one of the many "perks" of being an executive, in this case having to say "no". Great fun.

Anyway, all this reminded me of something that one of my old bosses told me once that obviously struck a nerve with me because over the years I have been involved with so many situations where whatever the situation was, what he said pretty well covered the water front. The essence of it all was this:

After you take away all the fluff, all the "responsible for's", all the "introduced this", all the "saved that's" and our all-time favorite "promoted to" what was this person really getting paid for that in an overly simplistic way one could easily argue that they could get it from a book?

After all, when people go to school, bschool or otherwise, they acquire knowledge. When they enter the business world they try to apply the knowledge, and down the road, when the time comes to see how it all turned out, what really made the difference between the success and failure?

It was somewhere in the course of this sort of discussion that this boss I was mentioning said to me "Dave, at the end of the day, managers really get paid to do only three things: Hire, Fire, and Evaluate!

As I think about my own experiences, and with acknowledgement that there really is a bit more to it that just that, nonetheless, if one could be really good at these three terribly difficult subjective judgments, you would be in pretty darn good shape and a very high first round draft pick for sure.

Think about it.

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