Onwards and Upwards – Day 175

Friday 8:58, Northern Line, The Underground, London

In one of the firsts posts I wrote in The Executive Kitchen I mentioned why I had decided to do an MBA.

‘Not only do I want to be successful in my new job (I started two months ago), I also feel responsible for the future direction and ultimately the success of a whole bunch of people, so it’s kinda important¬†that I give myself the best possible foundation to do a pretty good damn job.’

With leadership comes responsibility and with responsibility comes an enormous pressure to get things right. It’s kinda obvious but what happens if you don’t get things right?

Let me put this as bluntly as I can, I’m told I’m quite good at it:

The greater the leadership the greater the fuck up.

When you’re in senior management and things don’t go the way you had planned you’re ultimately responsible for it. The excuse of ‘I didn’t know’ simply won’t do.

This week I learnt this the hard way. It appears I don’t know¬†one iota about California employment law. Sure, you could argue that I’m not supposed to know anything about California employment law; I would agree with you on this. Which is why I sought advice on this very matter.

But what about when the advice you receive is vague or incorrect? How are you supposed to tell the difference between right and wrong?

I have now experienced two instances in the last two years where not doing our legal due diligence has resulted in the wrong decision being made.

Yesterday when I was on my way home I swore I would never again make the assumption that somebody else’s advice is correct. If you fuck up at work and it doesn’t involve people, you’re ok. No one died, right?

But it’s a completely different matter when people are involved. No one died, but I can tell you, it sucks big time.

It’s pointless to dwell on the emotional side of the matter. And perhaps I need to switch off the ‘I care about people’ button and transform myself into a hard-nosed corporate asshole. Is this what is needed at this level? Is this the reason why there a so few nice people at the top?

I don’t know the answer to these questions and I don’t expect you to either.

Onwards and upwards.