Ladders and Lieutenants: What is the Different?
Structures are in place for a reason. However flexible an organization’s hierarchy, however lopsided the ladder from top to bottom, the ladder must be put and kept in place. As I explain: “Chain of command is very important in our thing.” And I make sure the chain of command is in place and is respected. I run a hierarchical business.
Sil is consiglieri; Paulie, Raymond Curto and, later, Gigi and Ralph are captains. I rely on my top team and gives them a lot of autonomy and power. As Paulie explains to Christopher, a made-man has only one thing to worry about: my captain.
And that captain has only one thing to worry about: I. Many small business owners hinder their own company’s growth by not putting a lieutenant in place, someone who has authority over parts of the business.
The owners think no one can do it better than they can, and perhaps they’re right. Or they reckon if they do it all themselves they will save money, and maybe they will. But businesses need to grow, and if one person has my hand in everything, that growth will slow, and eventually stop.
I know that, which is why I has a hierarchy in place, purposely removes himself from various business operations and entrusts big pieces of the business to Sil, Paulie and Christopher, my top lieutenants.
Once lieutenants are in place and ladders erected, it is important that management structures are adhered to. Christopher has this assessment of managerial shortcomings: “Maybe one reason why things are so fucked up in the organization is guys running off, not listening to middle management.” I knows that when people oppose those structures, go against the ladders or rules of delegation, trouble follows.