Friday, November 26, 2010

How to be a successful manager - Developing the art

Developing an art needs more attention than skill building. Skills are things we all learn and after a certain point of time we need to master. In the job market, when it comes to skills, many are mediocre, some are good and the rest (i.e. the best) are artists. Art is something unique to an individual and if this art is beneficial for a company, it makes the company dependent on the individual.
This dependency gives the manager a true sense of power in a firm. The technicality of management can be mastered by all at B-Schools, and that creates competitive parity. The usage of technical skills is what I call art. An artist is a differentiated individual, because what he can offer, no one else can. Hence, he will draw more benefits i.e. a higher pay package.
The sad part is that management institutes unknowingly are focusing more on skill building than art development. The incentives for developing "the art" in a B-school set up are low and hence students don't generally focus on it. The art building process generally stops after graduation as people get into work. It is no where in picture when a person with work experience joins a B-School. In the long run, it is the art and not the skill, that ensures consistent success. The bottom line is, "Skill is parity, art is differentiation". If you have your own niche, success (i.e. money and fame) will follow you. This niche only belongs to the artists. And, being a successful manager means being an artist first.
Also, a successful manager also means marketing yourself. For an artist, the highest of form of marketing i.e. word of mouth works. But the first step is positioning yourself in the job market. The probability of success improves as your competition in the job market reduces. Competition only reduces by differentiation. The most differentiated people in this world are artists. It can be logically concluded that artists are creative people. Thus, to be successful as a manager you need to transform your management skills into an art by being creative at using those skills.
As has been said by a famous person, "I've never believed in God, but I believe in Picasso." Everyone wants a piece of Picasso's work. So to be there in top echelons , you cannot be just another painter, you've got to be the Picasso.