Steven Cesare, Ph.D.


An inquisitive business owner from Virginia called me the other day to discuss optimizing the alignment between his annual strategic plan, current organizational chart, and the capitalistic competencies his managers must possess to take his $5 million company to the next level.

Easily done.

We framed the strategic plan within the Balanced Scorecard framework by discussing specific measurable goals and associated key initiatives for each quadrant:  Financial, Employee, Process, and Customer.  That conversation led to lengthy, enriched dialogue on employee accountabilities necessary to achieve those goals, improve efficiency, and fortify the maturing company culture.  As with most sausage-making endeavors, the current organizational chart was eventually recrafted and simplified, ultimately serving as the foundation for the company’s projected 18-month organizational chart.

While quite capable of esoteric vision, the business owner was exclusively fixated on a practical approach to define the fundamental elements of his managerial workforce, thereby lending resolute clarity for current coaching instances, future selection interviews, and ongoing performance evaluations.  Keeping things simple, I proffered the 3-Legged Stool model postulating that effective managers must possess equitable proficiency across Business Acumen, Technical Ability, and Interpersonal Skill.

Business Acumen:  Distinct from operators, individual contributors, or supervisors, effective Managers must view every aspect of their job through a goal-oriented lens, linking resource management to a business outcome (e.g., revenue, cost containment, customer retention, employee development, profit, company expansion).  Failure to do so, leads to a short-term, insular, and academic mindset, destined for failure.

Technical Ability:  The effective Manager must have unquestioned expertise in his/her respective field (e.g., accounting, sales, operations, IT, marketing, HR).  In the green industry, effective managers must personify salient field operations prowess (e.g., maintenance, design-build, snow, irrigation, chemicals), positioning themselves as exemplars manifesting their unique functional contributions to ongoing company success.

Interpersonal Skill:  There is no substitute for effective communication skills (e.g., verbal, non-verbal, written, active listening).  Whether it involves peers, subordinates, supervisors, customers, vendors, etc. the degree to which all of them are treated with respect, empathy, self-awareness, and authenticity, frequently defines the ceiling effect of a successful Manager, as a leader, business partner, and role model.

With this pragmatic architecture presented to the business owner, he must now adeptly configure his daily actions as a coach, to ensure its proper implementation, thereby ensuring his plan will really be done easily.

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Steve Cesare Ph.D.

has more than 25 years of Human Resources experience. Prior to joining The Harvest Group, Steve worked with Bemus Landscape, Jack in the Box, the County of San Diego, Citicorp, and NASA. Steve earned his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Old Dominion University, and has authored 68 human resources journal articles. As a member of The Harvest Group, Steve’s areas of expertise include: staffing, legal compliance, wage and hour issues, training, and employee safety.  Read Steve's full bio.