People in Management
Accountants are the second cousins of statisticians and librarians. They tend to be meticulous, orderly, cynical, short on humor,
and long on precision. Not your typical fun folks. Bob Newhart used to joke about starring in a failed television series called
“Frontier Accountant.” Enough said?
Accountants, like other strange animals, come in several varieties. There’s the Certified Pubkc Accountant (CPA), the Certified
Management Accountant (CMA), and in Great Britain the Chartered Accountant, which is very much like a CPA.
Accountants may suffer from persecution complexes and believe that they’re unloved. They usually welcome friends from
outside their function and can be good drinking buddies because they’re often eager for companionship. Never try to outdrink an
accountant, however, because most of them did brewery or distillery audits in their early days and have a high tolerance for
Deal with accountants diplomatically. They can be nasty when cornered. If you attack their figures in a meeting, for example,
they may let loose a barrage of financial jargon that leaves nonaccountants too shaken to answer coherently. Instead, go
one-on-one with the accountants beforehand. Ask them to explain their figures, and listen respectfully and eagerly. Nod your
head a lot. You’ll find that this will get you a clear and patient outline of what their numbers really mean.
It pays to be nice to accountants because, aside from having lots of clout in today’s bottom-line-oriented organizations, they also sign the paychecks.
2) Executives ,
“Executive” is a nebulous term that implies power, status, and the right to take a three-martini, two-hour lunch. The label is
often reserved for higher-level managers, but its use varies from one company to the next. When you get right down to it,
anybody who dresses neatly and totes a briefcase looks like an executive, so the title is pretty meaningless. If you wish to you
should feel free to adopt all the outward trappings of executive status. Nobody will object; most will be impressed.
3 ) Directors
The company’s directors are supposed to manage the top managers. The directors, in turn, answer to the stockholders, who
technically own the company.
Directors are paid well for being stockholder advocates and overseeing top management, but there’s also a risk. Directors
who rubber-stamp top management’s requests without weighing all the facts and issues have been sued for malpractice by
stockholders. Nevertheless, a corporate director has lots of status and plenty of perks, which makes the job worthwhile.
Some of the directors may themselves be accomplished self promototers and salesmen in theirselves for you to learn from .
That is how they got to be directors.
4) Chairman of the Board
The chairman of the board is probably the most adroit bluffer in the boardroom. In addition, he or she has an above-average
chance of getting publicly flayed if the company gets into trouble.
The chairman writes a letter to stockholders that usually appears on the first page of the company’s annual report. It’s not
generally realized that this letter (which patronizingly refers to the business as “your company”) isn’t audited or critiqued.
Consequently, it may contain several outrageous statements about the company’s past, present, or future condition.
As a future management candiate you need to remember is that the chairman has a vote when directors cast their ballots, so
the time spent briefing or buddying up to the chairman can pay off if you want to get pet projects approved.
5) Marketing People
Marketing people are concerned with advertising, publicity, public relations, personal selling, customer service, distribution,
and other things that are supposed to entice customers to buy and to keep ’em happy afterward.
Marketing, like politics, is an inexact science. Companies have trouble knowing which parts of marketing work and which ones
don’t. If you want to be quotable in a marketing crisis, you might repeat Sir Thomas Lipton’s comment about advertising: “Half the
money we spend on advertising is wasted, but we don’t know which half.” The idea applies to marketing in general. All potential
marketing management candidates should memorize the buzz phrase “consumer orientation” because that’s the point of view that
most companies have (or claim they have) today. Every activity in the company is intended to satisfy consumer wants and needs,
including those grueling top management strategy retreats in Hawaii, Cancun , or the Grand Cayman Islands. Good future
managers master the ability to defend these junkets with a straight face. In the immortal words of Malcolm Forbes, “There are more fakers in business than in jail.”
The title ‘Analyst” is confusing. To neurotic New Yorkers and Hollywood residents, it means psychiatrist. To a few people in the
real (nonbusiness) world, it can mean chemist. In business, however, it’s likely to refer to the sharper end of the accounting or
finance department. This includes accountants who want to be something else and MBAs and others who are passing through the
finance department on their way up the corporate ladder. In major multinational corporations people are often given the title of
analyst when they’re doing a good job but have run out of promotional opportunities. Analysts tend to be perceptive, ambitious,
and perhaps a tad insecure.
Nowhere is this more true than with bright people who work for major brokerage firms. These people assume that they’ll make it
to the top because they’re sharper than the partners. Unfortunately, there’ll come when their day of reconing will come when the odds which like a Las Vegas casino are agains them come into play.
Observe and watch these management types in order that you can imitate and follow them into the land of perks