Management: what does the shareholder have in mind when they ask for professionalization?

Management: what does the shareholder have in mind when they ask for professionalization?

There is a lot of talk about the professionalization of companies, but it is not so clear in everyone’s minds what is meant by that concept. Without knowing where to go, it is difficult to reach a successful destination.

We are often called upon to incorporate an executive as CEO to lead this process, but when we want to make sure what the real expectation is, we find divergent answers.

The term, in reality, refers not so much to incorporating “professionals” as to developing a “professional” management method that responds to good administration standards. And today, it is implementing a culture that allows us to attract the best talents.

What does professionalization mean for the typical businessman?

Many times entrepreneurs feel that they do things intuitively and that there must be better ways to run their organization and that is why they seek to incorporate a person to act as CEO.

They also perceive that they are absorbed by everyday life, that they do not have time to develop new businesses, that there are many things out of control, people’s conflicts annoy them, they fear that they are losing money without knowing it, etc.

What does the shareholder have in mind that at that moment asks for professionalization?

There are several alternatives:

  • A true General Manager: someone who has, in the entrepreneur’s imagination, the same skills as him and also organizes the company, takes care of people’s issues, etc. What usually happens in this case: A management style issue arises that, if expectations are not well managed, can lead to disappointment. We’ll look at this in more detail in a bit.
  • A great computer, someone who doesn’t necessarily take care of the business, but makes sure the company and the people work. Here disappointment can come because the new Manager tries to define processes, and the “system” (culture) makes it difficult for him and he does not have the power to modify it.
  • A sosías (“person who is similar to another to the point of being able to be confused with them”). The shareholder wants someone just like him. This, as the reader will imagine, is impossible.

What does professionalization mean for people trained in management?

What does a professional way of running a business technically mean? There are two elements that differentiate “entrepreneurial” management from “professional” management: processes and culture.

  • Processes tend to be seen in the early stages of a company as unwanted rigidities. They may exist, but they are easily surpassed by the needs of the present, operational or strategic emergencies. In a more systematic scheme, the processes provide a framework that generates equity and that allows us to respond quickly to each situation, since it has already been foreseen.
  • Culture is an essential part of professionalization. It is the substantial element that distinguishes entrepreneurial management from modern management. That is why I delve into this topic that is generally not described with complete clarity.

The initial culture in entrepreneurial management is born around a leader (there may be two or three, but in general it is one), who has the idea, the vision, the optimism, the energy to carry out the venture, and who, as He grows, he needs to have people to take his “tasks” off his shoulders that free him up and allow him to concentrate on what is essential. Therefore the organization is rather composed of “people who collaborate” rather than people who are responsible for results.

Many times they are people who do what they are told, and the culture is essentially that of following the leader. Sometimes these people who “help” have a significant professional level and deal entirely with one area, be it technical or finance (often the commercial role is the focus of the entrepreneur) but they tend to follow the same pattern.

Therefore, The culture tends to be radial, with a focus on the entrepreneur, each sector doing its own thing, following the guidelines and indications.

In companies with a management culture, a professional enters, and while he learns, he is constantly evaluated to improve his performance, so the evaluation is seen as part of growth and not as criticism. He learns to take responsibility for something, and in the end, if he made a mistake, he is shown how to do it right next time. He learns that he can speak candidly with his leaders, and work as a team. Error is allowed. The climate, speaking in terms of neuroscience, allows us to operate with the pre-frontal cortex and not with the limbic system that deals with defense and attack and inhibits empathy and creativity. Much of this is part of modern culture that demands the resources that everyone is fighting over today (we will come back to this).

A person in this culture rises if he applies these rules of the game well, if he obtains results, if he forms a team and if he responds to what the corporation asks of him. There is a myth in the entrepreneurial world that people trained in a multinational of this type have no initiative and only do what they are told.. While it is true that there are corporate guidelines, there are also demands for results regardless of the context, which develop the ability to “get by” as one can. The companies that train managers in general are large national ones and developed multinationals with a track record.

The “professional” culture tends to be learned from the beginning of the professional career, and it is difficult to absorb later, it is like a language in the human being.

Culture shock

When a person thus trained enters a more entrepreneurial company, and wants to establish the “professional” management system by which he is hired, he finds that many of the people who are going to form his team are not accustomed to being evaluated, nor to take charge of working autonomously in search of results, nor to follow processes. There begins the process of developing that team, and making the necessary changes, which sometimes come as an unexpected byproduct of the process.

And this manager, on the other hand, accustomed to things being resolved by a team, does not consider it relevant to be in all the details, because that is what the members of the organization are for. He is not able to answer all the detailed questions himself, he does it through his people, and that is where the disappointment or surprise often arises for the entrepreneur who may find it difficult to believe that someone can achieve results without having all the knowledge.

It is very important that the shareholder who promotes professionalization is aware of and willing to cultural change. If not, he won’t get the results he’s looking for.

We therefore see the origin of the famous culture clash. In another reflection we will talk about its effects, and we will think about which is ultimately the best culture.

Founding Partner, consultant specialized in Executive Search and Careers, Neuroleadership coach.

Source: Ambito

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