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Mind SET


The Mindset
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As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

"Well," he said, "when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free." My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn't, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

So make an attempt to grow further.... Why shouldn't we try it again?

Your attempt may fail, but never fail to make an attempt!

Never accept the false boundaries and limitations created by the past.

Moving to GM Role ?



You have slaved long and hard in a functional role, rising to "manager of accounting" or "maintenance manager" or "HR manager" or any number of other management roles.  Now you want to move up a step to General Manager*. 


What do you need to do now to prove that you are ready for the move up?  Here is what I look for in a potential General Manager.


Leadership skills

I look for evidence that a candidate has demonstrated most of the following skills in his or her current role:


  • Business acumen - understanding the basic drivers of our business and comfort with the three basic financial reports (P&L statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement) and ratio analysis
  • Thinking strategically
  • Planning, budgeting and cost control
  • Driving for, and getting results through others, including executing strategic and tactical plans
  • Developing resources, especially people and teams - including hiring, firing, retaining and developing direct reports (monthly coaching sessions are one great tool for making this happen)
  • Workplace culture development
  • Delegation and follow-through - and keeping commitments
  • Learning on the fly
  • Influencing, and building trust
  • Conflict resolution
  • Communicating effectively - in writing, on the phone, over email, in person, in front of groups
  • Listening
  • Managing change
  • Making decisions at the appropriate level of risk
  • Priority setting
  • Problem solving - alone, and with others
  • Self-awareness and self-development


Functional knowledge


I look for deep knowledge in at least one functional area.  In addition, I want to see that the candidate has stretched out in order to have an impact on other functions.  For example, a manager of operations should have shown the ability to add value on sales calls.  Functions you should be aware of and be able to contribute ideas to might include:


  • Human Resource management
  • Accounting and finance
  • IT
  • Environmental controls
  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Maintenance
  • Manufacturing/operations
  • Purchasing
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer service and order fulfillment
  • External relations

If you are aspiring to a GM role, what are you doing to demonstrate these skills and knowledge?  If you are already a GM, what would you add or take away from this list?


*A general manager usually has responsibility for all aspects of one segment of the business:  finance, accounting, sales and marketing, human resources, operations, purchasing and so one.