Weekly Thought – July 11, 2017
Fred experienced all areas of business organization. As well, he served on boards of businesses and ministries which gave him a broad perspective. Continuing his counsel to the young college student, Fred talks about the issues of aligning with large corporations. These comments were written in 1976. The business environment has changed, but not surprisingly, many of the principles still apply.
Prayerful and financial support for the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute is greatly appreciated. We are preparing for the national conference in 2018, looking forward to helping students answer the “what’s next” question.
The Big Business Alternative
When young business majors push me for the “best way” to get ahead quickly, I usually suggest “go with a large, well-managed corporation for experience. After a few years of learning excellent systems, then go to a troubled, smaller corporation in a place of responsibility where your experience and knowledge can solve their problems. You will have the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded proportionately.” This is general advice and should be taken as such. I tell them they need to work out the “small print” on these plans, because there will be some.
Now a few words about national or international corporations. This is where the power is. Do you remember Willie Sutton the bank robber? He was asked, “Why do you rob banks?” His answer: “Because that is where the money is.” In the same way, going to a large corporation is going where the power is. If you want to be a big fish, get in a big pond. At least there you will have a fair shot.
An officer of a large corporation has power with many in difference categories: executives, employees, suppliers, politicians, and customers. The fringe benefits are not only financial; they are also personal. This is one of the great drivers for corporate executives. Frankly, I wouldn’t give a nickel for an executive who didn’t understand the use of power. It is necessary for action.
In a corporation, power divides into two types: Direct and Indirect. Direct is for the line executive and indirect for the staff. If you want the power to be the decision maker – the one to say yes or no -then you want direct power. If you want the power to influence decisions (and decision makers), then indirect power can be most satisfactory. Both carry much responsibility. Personally, I have always felt very responsible for influencing men in key positions. My management consulting business was built on the principles of seeing the operation, the talent, and analyzing where the “key log” was to bring solutions to problems. Even though I wield influence, the ultimate decisions and responsibility belong to the leaders.
Select the power you want. Along the way you will probably experience both. This will give you ample opportunities to see where your talents and natural drives lie. Always remember, though, the use of power is to facilitate action which will result in positive outcomes. Power held for personal gain only will create an unhealthy (and usually short-lived) environment. Choose where you can make the greatest contribution.
This week think about: 1) Where am I most effective? 2) How have my work experiences influenced my current situation? 3) Do I prefer direct or indirect power?
Words of Wisdom: “Frankly, I wouldn’t give a nickel for an executive who didn’t understand the use of power. It is necessary for action.”
Wisdom from the Word: “However, Ahikam son of Shaphan used his influence to keep Jeremiah from being handed over and executed by the people.” (Jeremiah 26:24 NET Bible)