Boot Camp

Three Day Workshop

This Workshop uses the Case Study approach to apply all of the Business Skills and Leadership Training modules. The Case is a fun read about one day in the life of JJ Bones, the Branch Manager of a wholesale distribution business.


I enjoyed the interactivity and the relevance to our business.
Jim Ambrose Workshops

Middle Management

January 26, 2021

I recently took up a new hobby, which is open water scuba diving.  With 43 years in the wholesale industry I cannot help but relate most things back to "the business."    In diving you always have a buddy. You and your buddy help each other in all aspects of the dive, checking each other's equipment before you dive, monitor and assist each other under water to make the dive most pleasurable.

It reminds me of how the first line managers (branch managers et al.) relate to each other in our industry. The first line managers are closest to the customer and the realities of the business and they eagerly help other each other freely and completely.   Like your dive buddy.  

In diving there is a dive master.  The dive master oversees the dive group.   The dive master makes sure everyone is safe and having a pleasurable dive.  The dive master understands everyone's skill level and gets involved when and where he can to add something to help the diver's skill development, enjoy the dive and keep bad things from happening.  

The dive master makes me think of middle management.   That is, in our typical company structures with a lot of direct report branch managers that report to the next level up,...middle management

But, unlike the dive master, they are often measured on their own performance.  There is NO buddy system among middle management either.  It is too competitive.  And unlike the positive goals of the dive master, their goal is to make their performance look good.    

Wouldn't it be far better if they were like the dive master and instead of having their own performance measured in the aggregate and telling their direct reports how they should or must do things in order to produce the right numbers for the group; their primary role was to monitor and assist in developing professional skills and leadership techniques of each person based on their needs and experience?  

But, in our world of metrics, how would you measure their performance?    


Well, it would be obvious!

Jim Ambrose