Workers Are Invaluable; Managers Are The Cogs In The Machine
November 16, 2012 businessMy open letter to rich business owners - where I called them whining spoiled brats - generated a bit of discussion over at Google+, including a rather well-thought out reply from Dennis McCunney. I'm not going to paraphrase his arguments, but responding helped me clarify something that I think is rather damn important1.
The people I addressed that open letter to - such as the CEO of Papa John's or Denny's - are not the people who are actually creating the value for the enterprise any longer. Swap 'em out for another CEO, and odds are the company will continue along without a hitch.2
If their product and/or customer service (and these seem to also be disproportionately "service sector" businesses) suffer, then the company will suffer hugely.
Underpinning my whole statement (and part of how I run my own business) is this idea:
The people involved in the production and delivery of a product or service are the ones adding value. Managers are the cogs in the machine; the fate of your company rests with each worker who makes the product or deals with the public every day.
1 I'm paraphrasing part of my reply to him here.
2 This also highlights the difference between "managers" and "small business owners" - the latter are still involved in the actual thing the company does, not just managing others who do the real work.