Tag Archives: Fintag

Of Titles, Authority and Wasted Effort

President, CEO, Director, VP, Manager.  It has been drilled into society that titles matter, and with titles comes more of everything.  More money, more prestige, and above all more power.  The power to impact, guide, direct, effect and above all make decisions.  As you move up the title chain you somehow become more and more important and above all more valuable – the critical person.

Then comes a blast like the below.  Another of the fine tomes from Finbar Taggit.

Just because someone is a CEO doesn’t mean they have any power or authority. In most cases, the more senior a person’s title is, the less influence they have over making decisions.

I learned this a long time ago. A first year Investment Banker is about 0% productive. After about 3 to 5 years, they are about 80% productive. When they realize meetings and PowerPoint is how you really get ahead, the productivity starts falling and once they reach MD status they spend 20% of their time making money and the other 80% playing politics. That is if they are still working in the industry. CEOs delegate everything to their senior managing directors and lawyers. I mean most of them cannot send emails without compliance signing them off.

And that is one way to look at the benefits of climbing the ladder – more is less.  Though dripping with sarcasm, it was ironic how reading the above did make me pause and smile at memories from both business and the military.  There might be a grain of truth to the above rant in more than just banking.

The real lesson and serious question lies in where any of us might be on that particular productivity curve.  Where are we putting our time?  Are we really doing the right behaviours, the behaviours that are “making money”?  Not just revenue, but are we making others around us better?  Are we making the business better, our friends better, our families better, and most of all are we making ourselves better?  As always, it is about return on investment – are you getting the most from your title and your time.

1 Comment

Filed under leadership

On Recruiters…Or Rather Headhunters

Finbar Taggit – the nom de plume of an anonymous former multi-billion dollar Hedge Fund Manager in the UK.   Over the last few years he has gained a healthy following and degree of celebrity in the world of finance for his unique, insightful, and brutally honest postings at http://www.fintag.com  Recently he shared some thoughts on recruiters, or rather headhunters, and of course it struck a chord.

The best thing I could think to do was share his thoughts directly.  Though it is written with a UK bias and there are some small items that do not translate seamlessly, the theme comes through loud and clear.

Recruitment. http://www.fintag.com/archive/2009/10/02/

Many of my friends are headhunters but it is time to out them as devils in skirts. Many commentators have picked up my rantings over the years about who and what caused the crash, you know the usual suspects: CRA, Private Equity, short term bankers, Excel etc but a group I have never talked about are still a menace to society.

Headhunters. These people promote fear and loathing and force employers to shake like spoiled children who cave in too easily to their demands. Lowly accountants are propelled into jobs that are way above there mental capacity and PhD’ers who are more suited to hiding in Labs are given hundreds of millions of dollars to play around with. MBA’s are asked to run huge marketing campaigns and History graduates learn how to structure complex products. Headhunters put out that X bank has people making more money than Y bank and play out bidding wars. They take 35% of the first years comp and push up prices. They create their own markets and control the people who run banks.

So there you have it – a little English style commentary on headhunters, the economic turmoil and events of the last 18 months.  To lay all the blame at the feet of the headhunter, while a dubious honor, is not entirely accurate.  However, his rantings are not without merit.  Truth be told I had to laugh at the accuracy of much of what he said, for in his overblown statements lies a fair degree of reality.  The real lesson in all of this lies in the use of the title “Recruitment” but writting on the role of the “headhunters”.  Yes, there is a difference between recruiters and headhunters.

Keep Finbar Taggit’s rantings in the back of your mind next time the headhunter rings.  Maybe that seed of doubt they plant, that idea of taking the next step in your career, the pitch for the “great opportunity” is playing to your ego…just a little.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviewing