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Leaders Should NOT Be Cowboys

by Miki Saxon

One of the hardest things that growing companies face is the need to stop shooting from the hip.

I hear the reasons not to all the time, from startups, small biz, entrepreneurs, et al:

  • It will ruin our culture.
  • It stifles creativity. It’s for larger companies.
  • It’s bureaucratic. It’s too time consuming.

“It” refers to the underpinnings of all successful companies. “It” includes the following in order of importance:

  • Financial controls that include
    • monthly statements of revenues by product;
    • discounts;
    • costs by department;
    • cost of goods sold;
    • inventory;
    • receivables aging;
    • stock issuance;
    • cash flow;
    • manufacturing yields;
    • hiring by department
  • Annual operating plan covering the above financial measures
  • Organization charts and definitions of responsibilities
  • Hiring process
  • Long-term planning
  • Centralized information technology implementation and planning

Whether it’s just you, or one, ten, fifty, or more employees, whether full time, part time or virtual, you need viable processes to keep you focused—think of it as coloring inside the lines.

Everything on this list can, and should, be scaled for applicability, but all are important to every business endeavor.

Those that don’t directly apply may be tweaked, e.g., manufacturing yields can change to productivity measures; a very few, such as “stock issuance” may be completely discarded if the action is truly warranted.

Sure, they can’t all be implemented at once, but none of them will happen as long as your MAP rejects or begrudges them—after all, you’re the boss (CEO/president/managing partner/owner) and people will follow your lead.

Finally, don’t confuse process with bureaucracy. Process is like MAP, it gets you where you want to go, whereas bureaucracy stifles whatever it touches; process, like MAP, is ever-growing, while bureaucracy is carved in stone.

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Image credit: flickr

3 Responses to “Leaders Should NOT Be Cowboys”
  1. Wally BockNo Gravatar Says:

    OK, sing along with me, “Mamas, don’t let your leaders grow up to be cowboys.” Or should it be “Mamas, don’t let your cowboys grow up to be leaders?”

  2. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Neither. Leaders aren’t born and you can find cowboys any age, anywhere. Plus, I’m a firm believer that after age 25 you are responsible for yourself and can’t blame it on mom or anyone else.

  3. Don’t Shoot From The Hip « A Dime a Dozen Small Business, Tech and Talk Says:

    […] great post by Miki Saxon on the Leadership Turn blog titled; Leaders Should NOT Be Cowboys. Whether it’s just you, or one, ten, fifty, or more employees, whether full time, part time or […]

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