I remember when I started by first business: Cellfind. The most exciting moment was printing business cards with the title Managing Director.
I was the man! I’m the chief! See my business card? Business cards never lie.
Since then I’ve learnt a couple lessons. I’ve swung between thinking titles are super-important (iBurst), to banning them in the company (Mxit).
I hate titles. I wish we didn’t need them. They can be a poison in a company, causing you to believe you are your title.
If you start thinking you are your title you are doomed.
Titles mean nothing. The only thing that matters is how much value you bring to the team. The single most important measurable of value-add is Rands.
How many Rands do you bring in? Without Rands you don’t have a business, so it doesn’t matter what other people are doing.
Anton Rupert reputedly lauded his sales force above all others, always giving them greatest credit and reminding the rest of the Rembrandt team that without sales, there is no Rembrandt.
Titles do not denote status. Performance denotes status. Performance is simple: How critical are you to putting the cash in the bank.
Sadly, reality dictates that we must deal with strangers the outside world. The outside world includes clients, suppliers and employees.
The outside world needs titles so that they know who’s responsible for what.
Make sure your business cards reflect your impressive titles, but don’t let it go to your head.