Monday, October 29, 2007

Strength of capitalism

If you have below average competence, are willing to step on a person here and there, and say "yes" to what ever your superiors say, there is a pretty good chance you can rise up the proverbial corporate ladder in just about any corporation. However, you can't make it to the very top. You can only make it to the level right below where you'd have a responsibility for a sustained profit and loss (P/L level). That is, a position where you are directly tied to a company's sustained (over the course of a long period of time) profits. Or in other words, a position where you have to produce, not hide behind big words or big people.

Once at the P/L level, then you need better than average competence, can't step on people as you need them to work for you (i.e. with you), and can't say "yes" to everything, but only to the efforts that add value to a company and those that you can produce on. I bring this up because I think there is often too much credit given to middle managers. Don't get me wrong, there are some great middle managers and my company has a number of them. But there are some really bad ones too. The good thing about capitalism is it weeds out the really bad ones so they can't make it to the top. Other economic systems like socialism or communism are not so fortunate in this regard.

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