Everyone is a Managing Director

When you start a business or end up at the top of the business, you pick up the wonderful title of Managing Director. It is your job and responsibility then to grow your idea, build a team and make your business a success. It is a difficult job if you have never done it before. Your mind can never stop. The buck lies with you and it – is a privilege that some people never want, but others strive for it every single day. Personally, I love it; but as I have developed as an MD (otherwise known as a CEO), it has made me realise that actually everyone is an MD, maybe not of a business, but of themselves.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with a group of sixth form students who had started a business. One of the students asked me ‘If an MD is always giving out jobs and what does the MD actually do?’ What struck me most about this question is that it would probably hit most MDs for six, who are- often always in control and leading their companies. A question like this, however, quickly get- you scrambling for an answer as you begin to justify your grand title and responsibility. The truth is: an MD leads, they orchestrate, they think six steps ahead and they bring vision, energy and deep rooted values to a company. They are the face of the company not only in the good times but also in the bad times. They have a responsibility to their clients and employees to keep delivering success and value. They are often crucial to the success or failure of a company.

It is quite something to think that one person could have such a big effect on the movement, mood or success of a company, but why not? It is their leadership style and their DNA which will spread through their management team, their employees and onto their clients. This is why big companies spend a considerable amount of time searching for their next MD even when the current one is doing such a fantastic job. There are countless examples of companies taking a turn for the worse when an influential MD moves on and they find them extremely hard to replace. Can you imagine how difficult it was for Apple to replace the charismatic and inspirational Steve Jobs?

So if an MD is responsible for leading, delegating, planning, thinking things through, selling themselves and building relationships, isn’t this a responsibility that we all have to ourselves when we plan our careers or when we work on our ideas? In fact, isn’t everyone actually an MD of themselves? The answer is yes. You, yourself are a business, an enterprise, an idea. No idea will be successful if it stands still and the one thing I have learnt in my life is that standing still is boring.

In any business, you can only have one MD, but every employee – whether or not they take this role – is actually an MD of themselves. A successful business will have not one, but many, all taking responsibility for their role in the success of the business. Each one has to conduct themselves as if they are an MD for their particular job role. They must lead it, be innovative, think outside of the box, delegate to others and also help other MDs with their roles, not just be narrow-minded to do their job and think that is the end of it. I guess this is another important point, an MD can be competitive, but they also know how to collaborate, share lessons and learn from each other.

Personally, I think being an MD is the greatest job on the planet, but it is a job that I share with 7 billion other people all across the world. Each and every single one of us has a responsibility to be an MD of ourselves and help others be the MD of them.

You, yourself is an idea. Build on that idea. Develop it, but most importantly own it. Be the MD you can be.  Each student of Arcadia is an MD and is responsible for helping each other out!

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