Chapter Ten: Deciding 1 October
When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
All the nations will be gathered before him,
and he will separate the people one from another
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Putting The Cut Back Into ExeCUTiveSet Aside
“One must be a good butcher,” said William Gladstone, considered one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers. A good CEO must be willing to make personnel cuts, cut a deal, cut out the nonsense and cut to the heart of the matter.
The best CEOs cut to the chase. Concise and scissors share a root—to cut away.
Decide is a verb from the late 14th century, “to settle a dispute,” from Old French decider, from Latin decidere “to decide, determine,” literally “to cut off,” from de- “off” (see de-) + caedere “to cut” (see –cide)…Sense is of resolving difficulties “at a stroke.” Meaning “to make up one’s mind” is attested from 1830.
Making a decision is to pick an option and take the other courses off the table. The boss separates the gold from the dross.
Scott Snook and Jeffrey T. Polzer write of this management challenge in a case study for Harvard Business School. They use a coach’s dilemma in The Army Crew Team. Under the heading: The Elements of Success, rowing and coaching are described.
Successful racing in crew required a unique combination of individual skills and team coordination.
In an effort to learn more about these components, the U.S. Olympic Committee had sponsored a research project in which dozens of crew coaches indicated which dimensions they thought were most important for achieving top performance.
The survey asked coaches to indicate the importance of over two hundred variables…
The sample of respondents included coaches with a wide array of experience, ranging from novice coaches, with 1 to 2 years of experience, and intermediate coaches, with 3 to 4 years of experience, to master coaches, with over 4 years of experience.
The coaches’ responses revealed that the two hundred variables could be broken into four distinct categories concerning issues of,
1) strength and conditioning,
2) rowing technique,
3) psychological dimensions, and
4) program organization.
Interestingly, the importance assigned to these categories varied with the coaches’ level of experience.
One pattern was that novice and intermediate coaches tended to rate a multitude of variables…as highly important…whereas master coaches focused on a smaller set of variables…
Amateur managers, like young coaches, are swamped with the number of inputs and variables that bombard them in the corner office. The novice manager does not know what to ignore so s/he ignores nothing and evaluates everything, which improves nothing.
The experienced coach/manager has the wisdom and judgment to determine what is important and what can be left out. Experience and practice produce a fine filter separating what is needed and valuable from what is less useful. This seasoning can take decades to produce a competent senior manager.
So, on what few items should the CEO decide to focus? Venture Capitalist and CEO advisor, Fred Wilson, recommends that,
A CEO does only three things.
1) Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders.
2) Recruits, hires and retains the very best talent for the company.
3) Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank
The manager knows what and how to decide.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:31-33