10 Reasons Why You -- Managing in the Middle -- Are More Valuable Than Your Company's CEO

Last Updated Nov 18, 2008 1:00 PM EST

Yes, that's right. Peter Drucker said, "the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer", and much of that work happens smack-dab in the middle of companies.

Sorry CEO's. We know the last few years have been tough with all of the scandals and talk about excessive pay. Now, just when you're starting to feel good again, we're throwing this at you. While it doesn't seem fair, stick with us for a minute and you'll see how we can all benefit. And don't worry--.nobody is suggesting that you can't keep the town car or fly the corporate jet.

Now, ten solid reasons why You -- Managing in the Middle -- Are More Valuable than Your Company's CEO:

  • You know how stuff really gets done. Let's face it, process maps mean very little when you know that to get your PC up and running again, the fastest route is to buy a muffin for Oscar in IT.
  • You know what motivates individuals. You're with them every day. Sometimes it's cash, time off for a kid's event, or just some simple recognition. Whatever the case, you're in a position to help motivate both in- and extrinsically more than anyone else.
  • You know the customer well enough to get to the truth. You are them, they are you, and there's a symbiotic bond. More than anyone, the customer will tell you exactly what they need and how to sell to them.
  • You know the vendors as well as the competitive landscape. All that shooting the bull with Marvin, who supplies the whole industry, really pays off when he tells you that your biggest competitor is never going to get that new launch off the line. With some tweaks, your firm can make a killing!
  • You don't have to defend the original strategy. This is BIG! Since you didn't devise the strategy, you aren't obligated to defend it. Instead you can speak openly and tell it like it is. Do tell brothers and sisters--do tell!
  • You have the skills to get people of diverse backgrounds and in cross functional groups to work together. That's because you live with them every day. There's a big difference between telling people what to do and really working it out. You know how to work it out.
  • You know exactly what point your company is in the movie. You've been living it with the team, and more than anyone else you know if the team is ready to take the hill or go back and lick its wounds.
  • You know the believers. When the team needs to get motivated, you know who they turn to, and more importantly, you know what gets them fired up.
  • You can motivate with humor. You've got their trust; therefore you can joke a bit and have some fun. Fun is a great motivator, and you're the one best positioned to get them laughing.
  • You have the power to heal. When things go wrong you're best positioned to get people on the path to recovery with a vision for the future.
So why do we need you, Mr. CEO? Well--you've done one heck of a job getting people and money in the right place. Hats off to you for that! When it comes down to it, dealing with regulations, reporting issues and testifying before congress doesn't seem like much fun either-- so thanks for that as well.

In a business world where everything is changing overnight and entire industries are being reshaped: from Manufacturing to Music, Transportation to Telecom, it's quite likely that the next great business model won't come from you but rather from us, the middle person.

So let's make a deal right now. You CEO's keep doing what you're doing and we'll be out of your hair, but when it comes to strategy, policy, employee recognition, and benefits we'd like to be in on that conversation. Deal?
Best,
Vince

Vince Thompson is the author of the new bestseller "Ignited: Managers! Light Up Your Company and Career for More Power, More Purpose and More Success" and host of "Dog & Pony."