I also often talk about the importance of “Thinking like a General Manager.” But, I haven’t really spelled it out… If you are thinking like a General Manager, what would you be thinking about?
Think Broad, not Deep
Even if you don’t want to be a General manager… If you want to make a relevant,significant contribution, and advance your career, you should think like a General Manager – no matter what role or level you are at. You need to understand broadly what drives the business, so you can really understand how and where your piece fits in, how to add the most value, and communicate better outside your team. Questions to ask To help you get started, I put together a list of questionsthat a General Manager would want to know about the business. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list to manage the business by. I haven’t included analysis of Financial Statements or Cash Flow. This is about understanding what makes the business go, across the whole business.
How does the company make money?
1. How does your company make money? 2. What are your sources of revenue? How muchdoes each provide? 3. What are your sources of profit? How much does each provide? 4. What things are your company’s fixed expenses? 5. What things are your company’s variable expenses? 6. Where do you and your department fit in the expense picture? 7. Where do you and your department fit in the revenue generation process? 8. What can you do personally or with your department to impact revenue orprofit?
9. Where in the world does your business operate? What things happen in which locations? 10. How is the revenue split among geographies? 11. How is the profit split among geographies? 12. What are the advantages that geographically dispersed workforce offers your company? 13. What are the biggest operational challenges the company faces with geographically dispersed teams?14. What are the cultural considerations that impact how you operate in each geography?
15. What markets does your company compete in? 16. Are your markets growing, shrinking or flat? Why? 17. How does your company’s growth compare to market growth? 18. What are the risks of your primary market changing and being less available over time? 19. How will you know? What are the mostimportant triggers or changes in your markets to be watching for?
20. What is your primary advantage in the markets you serve? 21. What is your biggest competitive disadvantage in the markets you serve? 22. Where are the biggest opportunities for new markets?
Value Proposition & Strategy
23. How do you measure if your customers are successful? For them? For you? 24. How do your customers definewhether or not their purchase was successful? 25. How much does your product cost the customer over the lifetime of owning it? 26. What is the most important thing the customer relies on your product or service to do for them? 27. How well does the customer think you do at what is most important to them? 28. How does the customer measure the ROI of your product? 29. Who are your most successfulcustomers? Are they profitable? 30. Who are your most profitable customers? Are they successful? 31. How do your customers describe why they bought your product (or service)?
Competition & Market Perception
32. Who is talking most about your product space externally? What are they saying? 33. How do prospects in your market talk about you vs. your competitors? 34. What is being said about yourcompany and products on message boards, blogs, and other social media? 35. What can you do personally to improve the discussion about your company and offers? 36. Who are your direct competitors? What are your indirect competitors? 37. How do your competitors answer these 100 questions?
38. How is your product sold? What are the steps in the process? How long does it take? 39. How much of...