Welcome to the first in a series of articles for executives and business owners who have primary P&L responsibility and thereby share the unique and awesome burden of deciding on consequential matters, often without the benefit of complete information. Each post seeks to go beyond textbook advice, be written for easy readability, and will hopefully provide not only a small amount of catharsis but some tactics you can add to your leadership toolbox.
Let’s first look at why it’s indeed so tough at the top:
- You have certainly worked hard, and smart, to reach the level of P&L accountability you have. No “B” school can teach a leader about “how to feel” when you manage the precarious balance between the demand of improving your business’ performance (P&L improvement) and the “messy” awesome responsibility of having the authority to profoundly change a human being’s livelihood. It’s never in a job description, and rarely, if ever, discussed.
- It’s not only tough, it’s lonely because while you receive no shortage of opinions and advice, evaluating situations with imperfect information and the corresponding accountability for those decisions ultimately rests on your shoulders.
- It often feels as if you are flying blind because many of the tactical or strategic decisions you make have unforeseen, unknown, ignored, or buried outcomes, even when they affect the company’s P&L statement or Balance sheet.
With this grounding, let’s move forward with lessons we’ve learned through experience, and admittedly some trial and error. Next In this Series: It’s Tough at the Top Lesson #1: Find those who speak truth to your power