Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

You Can’t Manage until You’ve Done the Job Yourself

Have you ever been assigned a tedious task that could’ve been done differently? Have you ever been given projects for which the deadlines were just unreasonable? Well, if so, then best believe your managers have never done the jobs themselves. You need to be in the field to know how things can be optimized. You need to be in the field to see what works and what doesn’t. As a business development intern in charge of optimizing operations and building new departments, I’ve noticed first-hand how the management’s decisions are based on theories and numbers, not reality.

When I worked for my start-up in Milan, I was in charge of redesigning the operations manual to pick out friction points and optimize efficiency. As I read through the 40 page manual, I’ve noticed that everything seems necessary. However, I’ve also noticed that there was a disconnection between the time expected for the task and the reality of what’s humanly possible. As a result, I asked my COO if I can hop on a ride with one of the field specialist for the day and that was probably one of the most insightful day during my time with the company. When I was out on the field, I volunteered to do the physical labor and noticed how heavy the mopeds were. I’ve also noticed the lack of optimization between stops. Lastly, the field specialist opened up to me and told me what he thought was inefficient with our system and how things should be improved.

Currently, I’m working on building a sales department for another start-up. Building a department is like building a system. Instead of creating something that’s ideal, I need to create something that works and new recruits can easily adapt to. In order to do that, I need to do every task myself. This includes prospecting, to updating our CRM, to sending out emails and setting up calls, etc. While this is still a work in progress, I look forward to when our sales team is officially up and running.