When Carlos Ghosn took the helm at Nissan, he immediately removed top managers who are marketing people and replaced them with engineers. It’s one of his recipes for the near-impossible turnaround success of Nissan. Plus the 500 days a year on the airplane.
So who's the best? I know management logic tells us it’s the combination of both that propels an enterprise.
But since Adam Smith decided to write the Wealth of Nation, and human being is so fond of his reckoning, specialization only means that there’s always a trade-off when it’s a combo of both.
My CEO colleague recently entrusted me with a consultative responsibility (with a bloated fee, as always) to appoint his successor . So after some scrutiny I did in their organization, I decided to study Mr. Ghosn’s approach by doing a Debate Interview.
By pitching a key Marketer against a star Engineer from his company, I will decide who’s best for the job of C.E.O.
Engineering: I produce products for this company.
Marketing: Well, without me your product is worthless.
Engineering: Well, without me you have nothing to sell.
Marketing: Sales bring revenue. Revenue pays your salary.
Engineering: Not true. No product no sales.
Marketing: Your productions consume costs. Only sales can offset it.
Engineering: It's your commissions that cost most!
Marketing: Your product is a junk. I convince our customers to buy it.
Engineering: Well, without our product, you have nothing to convince people.
Marketing: Without us, you’ll know nothing about the customers’ needs and wants.
Engineering: Without us, customers can only dream about their needs and wants.
Marketing: You’re limiting the product’s potential by being pessimistic.
Engineering: Your optimism only brings pie in the skies.
Marketing: You’re all research and no output.
Engineering: You’re all talk and no can do.
Marketing: You lack style.
Engineering: You lack substance.
Marketing: You’re a nerd.
Engineering: You’re a fag..
Me: All right there. Thank you guys. It seems both of you need one another to function properly. You’re too dependent to assume the ultimate decision making role.
Therefore I decided to appoint someone else.
This guy...The board will love him so much, he’ll get increasing vote of confidence every time the board meeting is held.
He has a great attention to details, and considers every cent a life-saving fortune. He knows how exactly to maximize outputs by minimizing resource.
He doesn’t need to know how stuff works but can still improve the bottom-line. He can bring us the next iconic achievements. If we need our own Great pyramid of Gyza, he is our Pharaoh.
He’s so powerful, even higher level managers beg him at times. He’s so important that you didn’t question any of his directives before, and so popular that you would meet him face to face even for a microscopic matter.
He’s so occupied that you need to bring a 10,000 page document to tell him you’re not wasting his time.
He has strong principles, highly resourceful, and influential at any level. The board loves him. You enslave yourselves to him.
Yes, he’s from ACCOUNTING.