People and money... building a good foundation.

There was a an "old school" leader I worked with who played the game of business hard... smoked hard, drank hard, and he played to WIN hard. With a drink in hand, I remember him telling me, "A good manager is determined by how he manages his financial picture". Over the years I have remembered his words and although they do ring true, what he said lacked something so profoundly important.

What he should have said in my humble opinion, is something to this effect, "Good managers are determined by how they manage their people and financial picture"

PEOPLE and MONEY - It is, and always will be, about people and money.

Let's start with MONEY as most of us want it, like to spend it, and will leverage the perceptions of having it. When I say money however, I am actually referring to how you manage it... how you generate it and how you effectively work it; spend it, invest it, and control it - It is the fuel that runs everything. And if money is the fuel, then PEOPLE are the engine... nothing, simply nothing, run's, operates or gets done without people. Full stop.

If you watch successful leaders and managers they always have their Finance and HR partners very close at hand and are ever present (sometimes commercial is included, but that is usually to remind them revenues are not enough... a truism to be sure, as they never are). The effective management of people and money is the foundation for any business success. I had once "acquired" an assignment, and will go out on a limb to say it was a category five "shit storm" - Within the first two days I was asking for my HR and Finance partners. They worked with me understand our bench strength of people, the structure we were working with, and our financial health. In the end, finances were put in order with established controls, people and structure "righted", and as a result, activities in-line with our objectives started to take shape. Success was starting to take hold.   

People and Money, like the engine and fuel, are the fundamentals of a "vehicle" that will take you anywhere and allow you to do anything. It's important to get good at driving - 

  • Know your HR and Financial partners; meet with them regularly.
  • Involve your HR and Financial partners in your team meetings and activities.
  • Ensure you have personal HR and Finance development objectives, as part of your annual goals.
  • Ask leaders you respect about their philosophies regarding people and money management.
  • Develop a lead and lag indicator dashboard that highlight your people and money goals.
  • You want individual contributors to be well versed with people and money as it strengthens the bench, increases engagement, understanding, and optimizes execution.
  • Elicit constructive feedback and be open to it.
  • Don't underestimate how complex and complicated people and money can get, particularly in times of rapid growth and expansion. 

Remember that time when you ran out of gas, or heard a piston that had ceased up in the engine and the car came a halt? You were so happy to see the friendly tow truck driver... well, with PEOPLE and MONEY, someone analogous to a tow truck driver shows up, but more often than not you aren't happy to see them, and they generally are not very friendly.

It's best to build a good People and Money foundation and stay on the move.