The Role of a Managing Director

The Role of a Managing Director

The one thing that staff need more than anything else is to know what’s expected of them at work. To answer the question, “Why am I on the payroll?”. 

Getting a clear set of Expected Outcomes & Responsibilities for each role in a business is a key task for any business owner. But what about the business owner themselves? This seems to get overlooked.

Here are my thoughts about the role of a business owner, specifically their role as managing director.

Most business owners wear multiple hats. It’s useful to separate those roles out and have individual descriptions for each – managing director, sales & marketing manager, human resources, finance director, etc. As business owner your name is initially in several boxes. As the business grows other people start to fill those other roles.

To keep things simple I’ve listed key elements for a managing director. You can add to, amend or delete to suit. Some elements need numbers adding so it’s clear what we’re aiming for.

One of the toughest things as a managing director is not having a boss. Managing directors who take their role seriously and want to learn, grow and get better will find someone to act as a boss.

Remember that a managing director is paid to create the future rather than manage the present. In a small business she may need to do both.

My suggestions for the role of managing director:

Business Strategy:  Developing, communicating and implementing a credible business strategy and sound business model.
Vision:  Creating and communicating a vision that inspires and draws the organisation forwards.
Innovation: Innovation to ensure relevance, distinction and progress in the market place.
Planning: Developing, communicating and implementing 12-month and 90-day plans.
Financial Planning: Annual financial budgeting including investment planning.
Profit & Cash: Overseeing the achievement of the annual profit and cash goals.
Reporting: Monthly reporting (to someone! e.g. a non-exec, chairman, coach) of financial, operational and business development performance.
Culture: Creating a culture and working environment that allows all staff to flourish and perform at their best.
Communication: Creating meeting structures and schedules that facilitate a healthy 2-way flow of information around the organisation.
Team: Performance management of direct reports.
Recruitment: Attracting, selecting, retaining and developing team members.
Clients: Retaining and developing profitable clients.
Business Development: Identifying potential clients and securing them as clients.
Compliance: Ensure that everything the organisation does is legal, honest, decent and truthful. Identify a set of values that drive sound decision-making and desired behaviours and actions.

To determine strategy and direction we must spent time out of the business observing what is happening and changing in the world. We must schedule time and space to think how we might profitably serve our chosen part of the world. And we must spend time with our people explaining why this year’s strategy and plans are different to last year’s – winning hearts and minds.

And lest we become a little too task orientated I’ll leave you with a lovely quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the French writer (including the classic The Little Prince), aviator and adventurer. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the seas.”

If you’d benefit for a short session to determine your priorities and get some focus then simply drop me a line now at

Mark Dyble

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *