It is not glamorous. It is not exciting. But it is absolutely essential to the success of any organization. What is it? Managing your business.
Every organization needs key players at the two ends of the spectrum – the big picture expanders who are actively growing and building the organization, and the detailed planners who are watching carefully to be sure the growth is done at a controlled pace. No organization will be strong unless it has these two components. Too much growth, and the organization will acquire insurmountable debt. Not enough spending and new ideas, and it stagnates.
The truth is, every organization needs a “Lefty”.
There was a CEO years ago who was exceptionally growth minded. He helped to build a company to Fortune 500 status. Very quickly, it became apparent that there needed to be some governance to the growth so that it was sustainable over the long haul. This CEO very wisely hired a CFO whose nickname was Lefty. Lefty was the guy who watched expenses like a hawk, who cut where cuts needed to be made, who actively looked for ways to save money wherever possible. This created an amazing balance, and the company thrived. Sadly, when that era ended, a more growth-minded leader came on board who failed to see the value of a Lefty, and the debt began to spiral out of control. As a result, the company no longer exists today.
Wise is the leader who addresses both sides of this equation because it creates a healthy balance. A good balance incorporates the following:
Bottom line focused decision making
Active communication between the “expanders” and the “containers”
New ideas combined with tried and true principles
Expansion that is planned with long-term focus
So take a look at the balance in your organization. If revenue and your book of business are stagnant, you need an aggressive, growth-minded leader. If debt is high and you have more ideas than cash flow, you need a Lefty!