Unbundle the underlying skills

“How do I become a great manager of managers” is a question that is fundamentally unanswerable in a satisfactory way at this level of abstraction. It’s like asking how do I become an excellent tennis player… I dunno, practice a lot? But then you find yourself standing on the court, by yourself with a hopper of balls, and realizing that “practice a lot” is pretty unhelpful. Practice what exactly? How? How do you tell if you’re good at each skill? How many times per week? For the curious player, the list of questions goes on and on.

A much better answer necessitates first unbundling the underlying skills in tennis: serve, serve return, groundstrokes, net play, approach shots, lobs, etc… and then there’s injury prevention, cardio fitness & strength training, nutrition, mental toughness, to name a few more. And you can (and need to) unbundle further. Just serves includes at least kick serves, spin serves, flat serves, forehand/backhand/at-the-body versions of each, second serves, and more.

Being a great M2 is, as you can imagine, also a bundle of skills.

Managing managers: the bundle of skills

  1. Hiring
  2. Grading work
  3. Giving feedback
  4. Crafting your team
  5. Strategy

And, as you can imagine, each skill isn’t one atomic item but actually itself further breaks down into. Hiring is a skill of being an M2, but hiring is also itself a bundle of skills.