Measuring Sticks and Managers

Managers are good at managing people, which is very different from leading people.

“Management” is a term that goes back to the early part of the industrial revolution when factories and assembly lines proved incredibly profitable if the system was managed correctly.

The measuring stick for the factory production of that time was not the output. It was not the quality. Both of those were important results of the process, and essential to success, but the measuring factor that became the lynchpin in the operation was the amount of hours worked. This is where the fictional idea of “working full time” became a number: 40 hours.

What measuring stick is used in your world? And who is holding the stick? And what are they looking for?

If you are a retailer, time is a measuring stick. The store has to be open, and workers have to be on the floor ready for customers. (Unless you can bend the traditional rules, build a communication platform with your customers, and sell product via a tweet or an email … which is exactly why certain retailers are winning while many are losing.)

If you are a restauranteur, time is also a measuring stick. The restaurant needs to be able to say “we’re open” and allow customers in. The windows of busy-ness tend to be conveniently compressed into a lunch rush and a dinner rush. (Unless you can bend the traditional rules and sell tickets to a meal, knowing exactly how many are coming, how much food you need to buy, and precisely what time they will sit down … which is why certain restaurants are getting massive attention while many are not.)

If you work for a wholesaler, the measuring stick changes. For a wholesaler, time means nothing, only gross profitability vs. commissions and other labor costs. The entire wholesale sales flow, therefore, needs to be looked at through the lens of efficiency FIRST. Sell more of the right things to the right people (the ones that partner with you, pay the bills on time, are fun to work with, understand the overall mission etc.) and sell less or none to the wrong people (those that drag their feet, don’t pay their bills, don’t partner, will bring in more and more competition against you on a whim). Simple as that.

This post comes up because I was having a discussion with a wholesale on-premise (restaurant) manager. She’s in charge of 20 sales reps for a major wine distributor.

She said: “I heard one of them brag about working only 15 hours last week! He actually took the time to golf in the middle of the work week. I couldn’t believe it …”

Before I could get the words out of my mouth, words that would have included Awesome, Amazing, Reproduce that person, That’s the goal, Find more like that, Isn’t it incredible when you focus on the right customers, etc., she finished her sentence.

… “so I fired him.”


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