I was standing in line to get through the security check in Munich on Monday very early morning, and the suit in front of me puts in all seriousness a bobby car on the conveyor (bobby car is at least in Germany a classic toy car for kids 2-5 years old). The lady of security needed to call the supervisor, because they feared the businessman could use the toy car in the plane and hurt passengers.
There was a little dispute between the passenger and the head of security and finally he was allowed to take it with him. The only requirement by the security was , that the passenger would drive on the bobby car to the gate. IMMD. Good that there are people with a sense of humor and of responsibility at this time of the day.
I recently had the chance to work with two managing directors of an successful company which has been around for many centuries and which employee base is quiet mature. The 2 MDs have very different views on where the company should head in the future and what to do in order to prepare for that. It reminded me of an pre-web2.0 start-up is was working with, where the managing board consisted of 5 company VPs and the VCs. Operationally one of the problems was that there also decisions where hard to come by. That was because it was hard to get an mutual agreement between the 5 VPs. Mgmt decisions within a start-up should be joint and shared by all members of the mgmt, otherwise you are Hearing for trouble somewhere along the Way in the future. So what is the perfect Number of member of the mgmt? In old as in new companies there seems to be a trade off between speed of decisions and involvement.
I am unable to blog today. It is just too hot.
I had a number of interviews this week with most of the top management of my current client. The company is extremly profitable which is more due to the industry than anything else, but the company is around for many decades. During my interviews it was interesting to hear that no matter if I talked to a technical, financial or marketing manager, everybody made at one point the same statement. We need to focus more on the activities that generate cash and in general on our core competencies. Now this is consultant-speek 101, but I think they actually have a point. Maybe established companies get sidetracked by their stringly developed organisation, complex structures due to international operations, M&A-activities and the wish to do every detail state of the art.
Young companies have no chance to dedicate resources on topics such as public relations, health and security, and so on. So they should have an disadvantage in that topic, right? But I believe companies that put alot of effort in these topics and built up teams of specialists at some point start to get in the way of their actual business again. Because specialist units, e.g. technical expert units, start to increase their quality demands on the operational business, but do not support the implementation of the needed measures. In the end the business manager has less time for his actual work “making money for the company”. The start-ups I worked for demanded that you do what is needed for the company. It was up to everybody to decide where to put his focus at the time.
So I wonder what is the better situation.
I will try to focus on the topics around consulting, entrepreneurial spirit, live long learning. probable it will be somewhere between those topics. Are there established companies which employees still act and think entrepreneurial? Haw can start-up companies partner with them. What happens to traditional or family ownder companies when they are left without a leaderhip? What do I see in my daily work and what am I learning? We will see where this blog will be going. Most of the blogs I know and read regularily are by successful VCs or start-up entrepreneurs. But I think there are many people who are just about to get on the road. I also believe that established corporations do a poor job in fostering internal entrepreneurs.
this is just a first step.