SCORE column: Lead or manage

As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE - which offers free business mentoring and education -- notes the organization has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964. The nonprofit SCORE was previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

I had an opportunity to sit in a strategic planning session at the end of December. The task was facilitated by an experienced Score mentor. The activity went well, and six or seven goals were set for 2020. After the goals were set, the team had a very good conversation and were really excited about going forward. It was at this time that the facilitator told a story of a dinner he had with the chief executive of a large company. At that dinner, the facilitator drew on the napkin a picture of a team of horses pulling a wagon with three people involved.

One was leading the horses by holding the halter and walking. The second was up on the bench with a whip in hand driving the horses and the third was in the fetal position in the wagon. I thought it was interesting about the person in the back and then I recalled that I know of at least two executives who were cowards when they experienced a very serious time in the business. Rather than act, they were paralyzed to the detriment of their company. Reflecting on the other two people in the picture, I realized how both the company and I grew when working for a leader.

Thinking about it, management is appointed from above while leadership is chosen from below. A leader gets his people excited about where the company is going and they choose to play a key part. Leadership is a multiplier. There is untapped talent in most organizations that will come forward when given the chance and add strength to reach the target(s). Two other advantages of leadership are: Risk is reduced. If for some reason, you become incapacitated, the team can keep the company running. Also, having a team running your company can add to the market value of the firm.

Managing the staff can certainly get you results, perhaps to where you want to go. What I want to hit on in this message is to express the importance of leadership versus management. In Business School they teach you that the function of a manager is to plan, motivate, organize, and control. Managers have the opportunity to be leaders. LEADERS LEAD! If they want followers, they must lead the way, just like the leader in the drawing at the front of the wagon is leading his team. Some of the necessary talents of a leader are:

1. Long-term quantifiable goals are set that are challenging and exciting.


2. Leaders take controlled risks. They stretch the envelope.

3. The leader makes clear in no uncertain terms that this is what is going to be

achieved. There is passion to reach the goals.

4. They are open and available.

5. They choose capable people.

6. The results are measurable and understood.

7. The team members can cross department lines to get help.

There were two tasks that were not completed at this strategic planning session. The first is to develop the one-page “Road Map” that lays out the vision, mission and culture of the company and the bricks (goals) to pave that road to the vision. This “map” is a wonderful tool when communicating with employees. It should be shared. The second document will be an Action Plan that will detail by each goal


1. Action to be taken,

2. Why is this important,

3. How will success be measured,

4. Objective,

5. Leader assigned to a specific goal,

6. Completion date.

What a fantastic opportunity this organization has to build the team and grow the company.

What a start to 2020!

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