002 Management vs. Leadership

So today we are talking about something that we touched on in a few of our earlier podcasts. The difference between leadership and management. The difference between being a leader and being a manager. So it’s let’s discuss management first, because leadership is very rare! I have compared management and leadership in the German podcast, I called them Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street!

"Management is making sure that the organization does everything tomorrow exactly the same way as today. Only a little bit better"

Management and leadership connected differently. Here is my definition of management; Management is making sure that the organization does tomorrow exactly the same as they do it today. Managers do the things that they did yesterday. Even if they improve and make things a little bit better, it is only optimized about 5%. Managers make sure everything performs, but they don’t go crazy with this. Management is focused on trying to avoid mistakes. Repetition is the keyword for management.  Now we will have the definition of leadership.

Steve Jobs is a prime example of leadership bordering on craziness. They go hand in hand! Imagine a big room with engineering gurus are there, all very upright and analytical. Steve Jobs comes in with his black sweater and challenges them to invent a new computer the size of small stack of A4 paper! Remember computers back in those days were these big noisy machines and changing the graphics card was a rush in itself. Steve Jobs further challenges the engineers to design the computer with a touchscreen and wants to see the first prototype in eight weeks! This is leadership. So leadership looks in my definition into the future. Leadership is disruption. Leadership is mistakes. Leadership is trying new things! Leadership shakes the foundations of what we have, this is the way the organization survives. Management looks into the past. Leadership looks to the future. So we have several people who are good in the one and good in the other. Management is easy because management gives stability. So this is the biggest enemy of success in the future? This is a success of the past.

"Leadership is disruption. Leadership is making mistakes. Leadership is trying new things!"

This is the reason why, especially in Europe, you can mostly see management. We were so successful since the Second World War. This is where management took over. This is where leadership is missing. When we do the same things that we’ve done yesterday, it’s safe. You need to have both. Leadership sounds good, but you can destroy a company with innovation. Once the innovation is there, you must have a captain who knows to run this ship. And this is my main critique in industry in Europe. There’s a reason why these companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are not in Europe. We need more leadership. We are good at management! We’re good at looking at the past and avoiding mistakes. When I describe management or leadership, it always sounds like I devalue management. My critique is not that we don’t need management. My critique is that we need more leadership!

 

Stay in lead!

OLAF KAPINSKI 🙂

Transcript

Hello, Olaf. Hey Musaab, how you doing? I’m doing great thanks. So today I wanted to ask about something that we touched on in a few of our earlier podcasts.

The difference between leadership and management. The difference between being a leader and being a manager.

What are those differences? And can you just expand a little bit more on that?

That’s a great question. Thanks so much for this! Yes, that will be an entertaining episode. So it’s let’s discuss management first, because leadership is quite of, ah, green unicorn, I would be surprised if you have seen it. So management.

I will make a description first. And then afterwards we just go and bring them both together because it may sound like I have a clear preference and that I described the one as positive and the other as negative.

This is not meant like this.

We need both. So management, and please these words. Management versus leadership.

Our definitions sort of say you can call them, and I’ve done this in the in the German podcast,

you can give them different names. I called them Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street.

Don’t get crazy on the names. If you do, you listen. I have this word. Management and leadership connected differently.

So be it. There’s nothing wrong with it. Here is my definition of management.

Management is making sure that the organization does tomorrow exactly the same as they do it today. And has been done yesterday.

So management means we have this factory and we put stuff in and other stuff comes out. And management means make sure that exactly that happens in the future, right?

Don’t disturb me. Don’t interrupt me. Managers hate disruptions.

Managers do the things that we’ve done yesterday. Tomorrow, maybe a little bit better. But when we talk about a little bit better, then in the scale of maximum 5%. This is what I would think. This is management.

So don’t play around with a factory. Here’s a factory. Make sure it performs, but don’t go crazy with this.

So management is extending the past into today and management looks back to see. Management is focused on trying to avoid mistakes.

Repetition is the word for management.  Now we will have the definition of leadership.

I always stay with my perfect example. And this is Steve Jobs.

So here’s this prime example of leadership bordering craziness because they go hand in hand. Yeah.

I assume there is this big room in 2008 maybe.

And all the engineering gurus are there.

There’s this big room with the left side off. The room is complete white with windows.

You look out of these windows and you see the Cappuccino mountains and it’s very nice. Everything is bright and white, and they sit around this very big table with the engineers all in their white engineer coats. I know they don’t wear them anymore, but I like this picture.

So they sit there very upright and very analytical. And Steve Jobs comes in with his black sweater.

He says “Okay, guys, just please invent a new computer.” Computers back in these days were these big machines. Yes, 20 centimeters wide, a meter high, half a meter deep with lots of noise.

And you had them on your desk when you’re cool. I mean, the stupids just had them under the desk, but the cool kids had them on the desk with the colored ventilators. They’re a bit noisy and changing the right graphics card was a rush by itself.

You know, the computer had the big keyboard and the mouse and all of these things, and you have your screen in front of you and make sure that you dust the screen off once a week.

Steve Jobs says, “I’ve sketched this out for you,” and he throws in a bunch of A4 paper. I know in America they don’t have A4 papers, but he puts it on the table and says, “So this is the size. And by the way, this is the thickness as well.” It’s a block off a bunch of papers, you know, 58 millimeters. I don’t know how big it was.

And he says, “This is a computer design.” Everybody’s like, “Yeah, sure, why not?”

And the engineer in the back is just getting skeptical.

“What did he just say?”

“Mr. Jobs, what do you mean with this size? So where do we put the keyboard? Can we use existing ones?” “No, no keyboards.”

Silence in the room. “How do we get to this?” “Well, it’s a touchscreen, you just touch the screen.”

And now all the engineers are scared to death staring on this little thing.

“Dude, do you think he is serious? Yeah, but I think he’s he’s going crazy.”

And he says, “Okay, gentlemen, I want to see the first prototype in eight weeks.” He leaves the room.

This is leadership. Yeah. So leadership looks in my definition into the future.

Leadership is disruption. Leadership is mistakes. Leadership is trying new things.

Leadership is shaking the foundations of what we have, because we know shaking the foundations is a way that the organization survives. This is not suicide. This is questioning what we’ve done in the past, being open, inventing new things. This is being open to youth, opening the mind! Open organizations use new thoughts and bring new ideas into these organizations. Right.

So analog phones are management. Skype is leadership.

So this is this is my definition. Good examples.

Management looks into the past. Leadership looks to the future.

So we have several people who are good in the one and good in the other. Management is easy because management gives stability.

Yeah, you know what you’re gonna do! When you come into the factory the morning, you know what the result is in the evening, There’s already a platform.

There’s almost a cookie cutter methodology of what to do, how to do it, when to do it.

Okay, so a manager’s job is just to optimize.

So this is the biggest enemy of success in the future?

This is a success of the past.

So this is the reason why, especially in Europe, you can mostly see management.

Yes, because we were so successful in the past since the Second World War.

I mean, I’m from Germany. I mean, I need to make a disclaimer.

This is 2019 now, so I don’t know if you listen to this podcast in five years if you will even have a clue of what I’m talking about. But currently we produce the best cars.

So we have the best car companies and you are welcome to argument with me on that.

We are a car country because it works to deliver.

What we’ve delivered yesterday, we deliver today.

As I said, this is in 2019. I have my doubts that this will be the same in five years because they don’t change at all. They just sleep.

There is no substantial change in the production or  development of German automotive automotive industry, you know, at the moment. Tesla owns the market, something like that.

This is where management took over. This is where leadership is missing.

When we do the same things that we’ve done yesterday, it’s safe. We know it.

Nobody can blame us for that. We’re not making mistakes. It’s completely a safe game.

You need to have a little bit of cocaine in your blood, I think to say “OK, first, I built a rocket company. Then I will make a car that works with accumulators.”

“Yeah, accumulators, the things out of my flashlight?” Exactly. Those things, but bigger. I mean in a race car.

You don’t develop a fast car in America. That’s irony in itself. Fast cars need to be developed, where you have the highways like the autobahn, so you can just use it.

So now, both together.

Lots of people are very hesitant with new things because they are new things and they don’t know.

Maybe you need both. The biggest problem from what I see from the outside is that with Tesla, Elon Musk wanted to develop the Model S.

The Model S is the very expensive one since it was nearly handmade. You can’t mass produce this so they decided to go for the Model 3.

Model 3 is a standard car built with robots in a factory. It took them two or three years.

It took them so long that I was even thinking that they had stopped the production. They decided to go to another production company. They don’t develop, but they produce it here. Yes, if we can do one thing as Germans it is building this car.

You need to have both. Leadership sounds good, but you can destroy a company with innovation. Death by innovation. Yes.

Once the innovation is there, once we are on this ship and go sail to the new lands, you have to have a captain who knows to run this ship.

This is what the Tesla people didn’t have. They bought it.

They know that they didn’t have this knowledge of how to how to run a robot factory.

So they bought a whole company who produces robots from Germany and said, “Okay, guys, this is what we need. We just need your knowledge.” So they bought the whole company. Great.

It didn’t work. Anyways, you need both. You need to have the visionaries.

And this is my main critique in industry in Europe, you need to have visionaries.

You need to have people who go around with crazy ideas. We have no innovation in Europe.

I mean, there’s nothing. I mean, Germany is a complete desert. The most innovative company that we have is SAP.

This is not innovation. This is doing this stuff from yesterday, from the sixties with a nice front.

And this is this is not really innovation. There’s a reason why these companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are not in Europe.

Yeah, So we need more leadership.We are good at management. We’re good at looking at the past and avoiding mistakes.

But we need this! This doesn’t last any longer. This is the downside of these things. We need management, and we need leadership.

We need to have some crazies in the company.

We need to give these crazies some resource. Time, money and people to to see if their crazy ideas are seriously that crazy or if this is the new Skype.

We need to test drive this and we need to understand that failing is nothing evil.

Every manager will tell you that their definition of a job is to not fail.

Yes, this is what they’re paid for. Team managers are not innovators because they are paid for not crushing the infrastructure.

Yes, but we need to give these people space for as long as we have time to allow a little bit more craziness and innovation.

 

And this is why when I describe management or leadership, it always sounds like I devalue management, you know?

I understand. We gotta have management. We have to have it. It’s very important.

My critique is not that we don’t need management. My critique is that we need more leadership.

All right. Thank you. See you next time, have a good one! Bye.