If you watch Netflix, you may have watched one (or more!) of the series on the drug lords south of our American border. Narcos follows the life and capture of Pablo Escobar, and the series El Chapo looks at the life of one of the biggest drug kingpins in history, the one who is currently standing trial in federal court in New York.
A recent article (1/12/2019) in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The El Chapo School of Management” recounts testimonial from associates and junior employees during the time El Chapo was the kingpin of the Sinaloa drug cartel. One interesting principle that has come to the surface during the trial is that apparently when your employees have observed enough of your illegal activities to testify against you, terminating them by laying them off or firing them is not an option. This is quite unlike the typical business in which you might be let go if you make serious errors.
Beyond the obvious termination options available to El Chapo, he had to run his business like any other CEO would run theirs. He had a vision of the future for the Sinaloa cartel and a plan to achieve it. He communicated that plan to his associates. He also attended endless meetings and had to address issues familiar to most CEOs, such as marketing and sales, inventory management, distribution, and transportation. He had to worry about pricing, finance, quality control, and risk management. He also needed engineers (to design tunnels), bookkeepers and accountants, and security guards. El Chapo could not run his business alone; he needed good people to help him do it. Of course, because of the type of business, he was in, El Chapo’s leadership style was less concerned about talent and skill set and more concerned about the loyalty of his employees.
The article illuminated an important point for me: It doesn’t matter what business you are in, the business principles are basically the same. You need a vision, a plan, and good people to help you accomplish it. As a business owner, you also need to be a leader, and you need to address marketing and sales, inventory management, distribution, transportation, finance and accounting, quality control, and risk management. All of these principles are like links in a chain; to succeed, each link needs to be strong. One weak link can make the entire business weak, which is not much different than what El Chapo faced.
When I was the GM and COO of a $40 million company with seven locations, all of these aspects of business came into play. With seven locations it would have been easy for a weak link to affect the entire chain. It was my job to make sure everyone had what they needed to keep the links strong.
If you would like to strengthen the links of your organizational chain, give us a call. We are experts in business and can help you to make dramatic improvements in your business.