Business Administrator – a job description
//This is a new stage in the saga for finding that special Business Administrator. This time, it’s in English. Reading it outside of context may do little for you. Could also call this “evolve job descriptions” 🙂
I want you to be happy.
I can’t measure that but I’ll know when you are. Just as I won’t measure how exactly the job I lay out for you contributes to your happiness level. And just as I know that the choices I make when describing this role will strongly nudge you towards or away from happiness.
However, there are several things that we can measure. Their dimension is your accountability. Objectives will be set and re-set in regards to these dimensions. Objectives are not the first thing that matters but they will help you to plan and then to focus.
These are the items that will affect our relationship the most. They break, our relationship breaks.
Number of breaches of trust. This means saying you will do something and not doing it. It means exposing private information outside the appropriate circle. It means hurting your team intentionally, in any form (a word of spite, a lie, theft, etc).
Number of hours/week you spend on intentional learning. This means learning activity that you plan and execute as opposed to what you will learn “on the job”.
If your personal brand will continuously be that of a continuously-learning-trust-worthy human, you’ve quite possibly won at life. I’ll help you cultivate that.
These are company numbers that I would like you to be accountable for. They will tell if you’re doing a good job.
Number of problems that an official Fiscal or HR or Work Health and Safety audit finds. This relies on the quality of the relationship that you will be managing with our accounting, HR, SSM partner and the thoroughness of our side of the process (gathering/organising documents, resolving issues, etc)
Number of hours that I personally have to spend on the day-to-day business operations/Quarter.
Number of company official documents that have to be created by someone else/Quarter. We’re talking commercial proposals, contracts, invoices, etc.
Days of delay in payment of our financial obligations.
How many Meeting Rhythm instances don’t happen/Quarter. Differently put, how many meetings that we’ve scheduled ahead for the next Q were skipped.
Number of open Team Member positions.
Number of days since the last update of the financial documents. I mean Cashflow and some other few spreadsheets. Nothing very fancy for now.
Number of un-solved business issues. These are issues that are not treated at a personal level or at a delivery project level. They go on a backlog and need to be managed towards a solution before they pile up.
These are company numbers that I would like you to contribute to, even if someone else may be accountable.
Accounts receivable – money owed to us. The “client manager” is accountable to collect, you will need to help and notify her.
Number of sub-optimal core business process items. What important area of the business is currently resolved sub-optimally? This number needs to be 0. It’s currently larger than that.
Billability rate. How many of the hours directly productive people spend at the office are we being paid for? This deals with helping the “delivery manager” optimise this number.
These are company numbers that have no-one accountable now. I expect that someone covering them would bring a lot of value. One way or another they are too strategically important to leave open on the long run.
Number of out-bound sales prospects.
Number of in-bound marketing prospects.
Marketing funnel conversion rates.
Number of learning days paid for by the business. How many of the regular work days were invested in learning.
I would like you to self evaluate your starting capacity on each of the directions above, before our initial conversation. The evaluation uses five levels:
- N/A – I don’t want to work on this direction
- Level 0 – I don’t have any competence on this direction
- Level 1 – I have theoretical competence/I believe I can do it, even if I’ve never actually done it before
- Level 2 – I can do this well, I have experience doing it with good results
- Level 3 – I can do this very well, I can teach/manage other people to do it or get great results doing it
You have the option to opt out of taking on some of the numbers above. It will limit your potential to create value but on the other hand, biting more than you can chew will also do that.
What I don’t count
Numbers of hours you spend at the office.
Number of vacation days you take.
Here’s how we’ll deal with salary
After your self assessment you will tell me two numbers:
- How much do you need to make/month so that you can carry out your lifestyle;
- How much do you want your starting salary to be.
I’m asking for 1 for a number of reasons:
- know how much strain our finances can take, how much risk can we handle (I’ll explain more below, in the Career Management Path)
- to protect you from yourself as I’ve seen people trying for jobs that would not really sustain them and therefore causing nothing but harm to everyone
- know each other better, I open my finances up to you, you’ll open yours to me.
I’m asking for 2 to know if the company can provide and to compare applications. As I’ve mentioned, this is not a position that has a fixed salary tied to it. I will strive to bring the best person on board that shows value for the money asked and that makes business sense as a hire. If I see conflicts/reasons to worry, I will bring them up for discussion.
I don’t haggle. I’d like to pay what you ask, observe if I have a more competitive offer from another candidate or admit that I can’t afford your services at the time.
Your standing in the Team/Business
Your status in the team matters, a lot. The business acknowledges different levels of responsibility (above those mandatory by law) in the relationship with you based on your standing in the team. Everybody in the team has the same rights but not everybody has the same privilege or accountability set.
Candidate (0-3 months together): a successful interview is not a guarantee for a successful relationship. During this period each party may decide it’s not working and step back. If none does, it’s proof enough we are ready for the next stage.
Rising star (3-12 months together): our relationship has potential but it has likely not faced “stormy waters” yet. We have a lot to learn about you, still – and you about us, all of us. At this stage, if it comes to a decision to stop working together we have a responsibility to do let each other go “gently”. If the anniversary comes and this has not happened the Team Members as equals (and not the Management, Owner or any superior “forum”) have a decision to make: that of accepting you as their own. They will discuss and reach a decision: in or out.
Team member (12 months onward): once you are a Team Member the Business and other Team Members have a responsibility to care for you. If our revenues drop and we can’t pay salaries we may let go of our Candidates and Rising stars but not of our Team Members. We will discuss how we handle it and all take it as a Team, regardless of who has an active project or not, or other such reasoning. If you fall behind on performance it is the responsibility of the Team to help you pick yourself back up. If you get into a conflict with other Team members we all will fix it, as a Team (regardless of who is right or wrong). Simply and positively put, the Team is “stuck” with you for the good and bad. As such, the Team must really be careful who they accept in their midst.
As a Team member you have a part of the yearly company profit distributed to you and enjoy most of the privileges available in the business.
If you decide to leave the Team, for whatever reason, it is expected that you will do so with great consideration for what you leave behind. It is also expected to come as a step towards your evolution and never as admission of defeat in front of relationship or business challenges.
Partner (no strict time coordinates): this is like an exclusive country-club for people that enjoy managing responsibility and risk. You don’t join it, you can only be invited to it by its existing members. Once you join you own a part of the business. It’s the business equivalent of marriage. The terms of this engagement are negotiated and agreed upon ad-hoc. It does not come with a certain job position in the team, you don’t become a Manager because you are a Partner.
Career and wealth management
You manage your own career. Hopefully inside this business, for a long time. You don’t get on a buss that someone else drives. You bring your own preferred type of vehicle to run alongside each of ours because you decide we have a common destination.
What you earn is not what you’re worth as a human. But it is a dimension of your value in the economic context. And both will matter in what we do.
I expect you to already know or to learn to live below your financial means. It’s one of the “secrets” to happiness and incidentally, to wealth. You should be needing as little stuff/money as possible. At the same time I expect you to know or learn to make as much money as possible, with no limits but your competence. Neither expectation limits the other, they are true at the same time. If ever a business would create an artificial barrier for what you can earn, below what you believe you can earn, leave it.
It’s not my (or the business) purpose to pay you. It’s your purpose to get paid (by our customers, trough collaborative work in the context provided by the business). There’s an important difference between the two. That’s why I’m not making salary offers, you are making salary requests.
Expect your revenue to rise and fall with the performance of the business (with the business numbers that you are working for). Not with time, not with the market salary level, not with the weather. If the going gets tough and we can’t pay salaries, for a limited time, Partners will put their own money on the line so that you get the salary you need as you work to put us back in the cashflow positive zone.
There are people in the team that go home at 3am in the morning, on more than one occasion. This is not in the job description, not a requirement, it’s a personal choice to do some things at a specific level of craftsmanship. It’s a choice to take pride in the results of one’s work. A choice to allow one to become obsessed with the profession. A choice to deliver sooner than later so that we can capture more value.
Everyone in the team is free to explore this choice in the quest to identify the personal and collective sweet spot. Exercise this freedom and be responsible for the burn rate. There’s always a way to make more money and if you choose to pursue it you will see the results.
Every Team member has access to see business income and expenses. To a certain point, you’ll always know where the money goes. The law forces a business to take measures to keep salaries confidential. Use this information to determine how you and the team should work smartest.
Don’t work for free.
Always point out what can be improved
It’s an obligation you have to uphold a context of that allows people to be A-Players. This context is one of the benefits you get, value it because it was not cheap to build nor easy to maintain.
Never hide the bad stuff under the rug. This comes with an obligation to care for people’s feelings, being right does not entitle you to hurt others, not even a little.
So, what do you think about it!?