What The Boss Expects From You: #1
Thursday, Jul. 12, 2012 at 11:35am
This begins a series of short instructions informing the reader of this site of the various things your boss, no matter who he or she may be, requires of you, regardless of what business you are in, what level of the tree you inhabit, or whether they are crazy or not.
I think these may be useful. I spend a lot of time poking a sharp stick in the eye at bosses, and it serves us right. What I don't often talk about is what we employees do to drive these generally crazy people crazier. There is no guaranteeing that if we give the boss what he or she wants the situation between us will improve. Bosses are people who have been driven irrational by the irrational demands of their jobs. But these are a good start. Here's the first:
#1. Be there. I knew an executive not long ago, we'll call him Barry. Barry was in charge of new media. Now, every year in Las Vegas there is a gigantic rat scramble called the Consumer Electronics Show. It's not really all about consumer electronics. It's a huge gathering of nerds, techs and visionaries from every business discipline that is interested in the future of business as we know it. More than 100,000 attend. It's insane for about a week. Anybody who is anybody or wishes to appear as somebody is there from Bill Gates on down. Apple (AAPL), in its extreme creative grandiosity, actually programs a competitive convention in the Bay Area for technoids who wish to follow their eightfold path. Barry's company sent about 35 people there, including its executive vice presidents of just about everything. The only one who took vacation that week was Barry. He was in Hawaii. I hope he liked Hawaii, because about eight months later he was given the opportunity to spend the rest of his future there.
Last May, my company announced its earnings. One of my guys took the opportunity to take a well-earned vacation. When he returned I took him into my office. "Have a good time in Ecuador, Mark?" I inquired politely. "Oh yes," he said. "It's great there." "I have no doubt," I said. "Please sit down." He sat and looked up at me with big, limpid eyes. "Mark," I continued with maximum cordiality and blandness, "don't ever take a vacation during earnings week again. The fact that you did so indicates to me that you're not really thinking about how you fit into the work around here. It shows your head is not in the game. Is that understood?" "Yes," said Mark. And then he went away. But not too far. He's no dummy.