The Big Picture - March 2014 - (Page 14)
business ++ management
Sheepherders and Shepherds
By Marty McGhie
hile hiking with a youth group in the high plains of
Wyoming this past summer, we ran into a group of
ranchers who were moving a large herd of sheep into another range for grazing. The several hundred sheep, all running about in a rather chaotic manner, were being pushed
forward by five sheepherders on horses and four dogs.
As we watched, several in our group commented about
the number of sheep that seemed to be heading in no particular direction at all. The sheepherders and the dogs had
to work continuously to keep the herd moving more or less
in the correct direction.
Contrast my Wyoming experience to that of a friend
of mine who visited Jerusalem a few years ago. He noted
that many sheep graze daily in the fields surrounding the
city. These sheep, however, are managed by shepherds,
not sheepherders. In the early morning hours when the
shepherds move their sheep out into the fields, they call
them out by name and lead them. Likewise, in the evening
when they move the sheep into the protective fold (a fenced
off area) for the night, the shepherds lead them instead of
herding them. The sheep simply follow the shepherd.
Now, you could argue that one way of moving sheep
is better than the other. But that's not my point here.
Instead, I think these two examples illustrate the different
ways we often find ourselves running our businesses: The
sheepherders in Wyoming could be compared to the management side of our responsibilities, while the shepherds
in Jerusalem could be compared to the leadership roles in
MaRTy MCGHIE is VP finance/operations
of Ferrari color, a digital-imaging center with
Salt Lake city, San Francisco, and Sacramento locations. he is a partner and director
of Signs.com and the author of Business +
Management for Digital Print Providers + Sign
Shops (ST Media Books, stmediabooks.com).
THE BIG PICTURE March 2014
Managing the daily workflow
In our business operations, we'll always need both managers and leaders. In a shop's daily flow of work, for instance,
you'll always need managers to keep production systems
and work product moving. This is critical to achieving success with the daily commitments to your customers.
Now, hopefully, our managers are not managing our
people and processes in a chaotic fashion like my first
example of the sheepherders. The Wyoming sheepherders knew where they eventually wanted to arrive and were
generally headed that way - it just took a lot of running
around to get there. It's likely that some days our managers
feel exactly like that: lots of hectic running around feeling
like we are indeed getting nowhere fast.
The overriding point I want to make here, however, is that
we absolutely need the daily roles of managers in our business to actually get the work done. Our managers should be
completely immersed in and equipped with the information
needed to get our products out the door correctly and on time.
Managers are the ones tasked with the daily, perhaps
hourly, responsibility to make the necessary decisions to
meet our customers' demands. To speculate that we only
need leaders rather than managers in our companies would
be folly. But how well do your managers perform their
functions as managers? And for that matter, how well do
your employees follow your managers' direction?
Two levels of leadership
A company's shepherds - its corporate leaders - are, however,
When considering the role of leadership in your organization, the first question you might ask is: "What?" What is
the role of a leader in your business? If your managers are
the ones tasked with the daily responsibilities of workflow,
then your organization's leaders are the ones accountable
to teach the managers exactly how to do that. While the
leaders in your business might be responsible to teach your
managers and the rest of your team "how" to properly do
their job, their more important role might be "why" they
should do their job in a certain manner. >34
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Big Picture - March 2014
The Big Picture - March 2014
Business + Management
White-Hot: Five Shops Explore White Ink
Great Ideas: ISA Expo 2014
Front- and Back-End Tools
The Big Picture - March 2014
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.