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Too many accountants

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • July 8, 2022

When you assemble a management team, beware the “too many accountants” problem.

The best way to describe this problem is to compare to assembling a trampoline. 

When you start hooking the mat onto the steel frame, the temptation is to do so sequentially. The problem that you discover is that halfway through the hooking, you can’t pull the mat far enough to continue hooking. That’s because there is too much tension/strength from the other side.

If you read the instruction manual, then you’ll see the very first line says: Do not attach hooks sequentially. 

Hook on opposite sides. East, west, north, south. Then NE, SW, NW, SE. And so on. That’s how you keep even tension on the mat. 

The same applies to management teams, especially at the beginning. If you hire too many finance people, then your culture will always be dominated by accountants. They won’t allow for other mindsets to balance out decision-making. 

Same for sales. Too many sales people, and they won’t let accountants bring any perspective to the table.

When building your team, hook opposite sides of the mat. Bring in a commercial person, then a finance person, then an HR person, then an operations person, then an IT person, then a legal person, then start again with commercial person.

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