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Chapter 8: Management Team

A management team and bringing people together is a lot more than just résumés and venture capital. It's what makes a company work, or not work.

For example: It's a sunny March Friday in Western Oregon, which is rare; so rare, in fact, that the boss decides to order pizza for lunch for the entire staff.

The controller is a former history major, Phi Beta Kappa into grad school, who discovered midway through her 30s that she really liked making numbers work. As people gather in the main room around the pizza, she announces that all should enjoy her hair that day "because I am having a rare good hair day." Everybody laughs.

The head of tech support turns the attention to the "krinkly hair" of the marketing manager. Everybody laughs again. There are jokes about the pizza and the root beer.

The product manager demonstrates ballroom dancing steps in preparation for his upcoming wedding, and somebody thinks to turn the music-on-hold up, through the phones, as accompaniment.

The documentation manager emerges from her sunny office in the back and announces that she has a new couch in her office so people can escape from all the administration in the front.

These people seem happy. The technical support manager really likes to explain to people on the telephone; the documentation manager loves teaching and writing. The admin department includes a college student and a soccer mom, both of whom understand the accounting system very well and usually forgive it its flaws. The office manager, a former teacher, says managing this diversity is nothing compared to dealing with a classroom full of adolescents. The product manager and marketing manager both earned their business degrees while working part-time in tech support, and joined full-time as soon as they graduated. These people like their jobs and they like each other. They work together well.

Flash back to the same company four years earlier, with a totally different staff. Back then, the controller was worried sick about the integrity of the computer system. The former technical support person was tired of technical support and upset that the controller had a better computer. The sales manager spent half of her day settling disputes between the controller and the technical support person.

The point here is that the jobs need to be done and the people need to match their job functions and preferences. A manufacturing company can't survive without a production manager, a software company can't live without technical support, and most companies also need office management and administration.

If we jump straight into personnel plans and résumés and business jargon related to the management team, we can inadvertently forget that there is something much more vital and alive than just looking good for investors. A company is where its employees come together most every day, for the major part of the day. If it isn't a good place to work, then it won't be successful. Keep this in mind as you plan your management and develop this part of your plan.

 

Copyright © Timothy J. Berry, 2006. All rights reserved.