Can Your MSP Business Learn from ‘the Emperor’s New Groove’?
An MSP business could be compared to a ship on the high seas. Sometimes, the wind is up, and the sales are full. Sometimes, the waters are calm and forward motion is slow. Sometimes, a storm kicks up and knocks the vessel off course. The leader of an MSP has many qualities that are like a captain. He’s looked up to by everyone on the team, and the way this individual’s personal conduct is communicated will impact the entire operation.
A good and fun way to understand this might be through a brief review of Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove. In this film, David Spade plays an emperor who is turned into a llama. Where once the king was proud and arrogant, as a llama, such arrogance cannot be tolerated. This character’s name is Kuzco, and through an adventure across South American jungles with a man named Pacha, Kuzco comes to understand the plight of his people. His perspective changes accordingly. At the end of the film, he has been humbled.
This concept has also been portrayed in a reality show called Undercover Boss. An SNL skit spoofed this show with a Star Wars-themed sketch that’s worth a few laughs. You don’t want to be like Kylo Ren’s character in this sketch, but you do want to understand what it’s like for employees of your MSP business. This can involve getting in the trenches. In sales, you may need to make a few outbound calls. You may need to help tweak marketing plans, or you may need to code. You’ve likely done all these things before in some capacity to get to the point where you’re leading an MSP vessel across the modern technology seas. Following are several additional suggestions toward attaining humble leadership:
• Lead, Don’t Manage
• Kill Ego
• Exemplify the Change You Seek
Lead, Don’t Manage
A good way to get the right attitude about leadership is to think less about yourself and more about the “crew” of employees you’re leading. What you want to do is think as though you were a leader, more than a manager. A manager has a personal level that is removed from employees. A leader is to some extent part of the group, though a part with a deciding vote in forward decisions.
It’s not about your company or your position or how you’re seen by the media. The company wouldn’t be viable without those that have built it with you— at least not beyond a certain level. To have any expansion at all requires collaboration. You’re in the primary role of forward advancement, but as your company grows, it becomes more than you. It’s not a corporate extension of your ego. If you have an egotistical perspective of this kind, it will slowly rot the company. You’ll do things for the sake of pride rather than professionalism. However, if you kill ego, your employees see this, and they do their best to remove theirs. They notice how the head of the company comes in early and stays late and how this individual cares for those around them and does due diligence to facilitate smooth operations. Then, those employees endeavor to do the same.
Exemplify the Change You Seek
All earlier points can be summed up here. If you want your company to be honest, function with integrity, go the extra mile, innovate and achieve success, you’ve got to set the best example possible. The reason this is the best kind of leadership is because, as it trickles down to the employees, they become centered on putting the needs of others over themselves. The entire atmosphere of your MSP becomes closer, and problem resolution expands as employees are more apt to think critically. When you care about something beyond mere need, you’re more apt to throw your whole self into it.
An MSP business needs be strong to survive. Establishing healthy leadership early on is one of the best ways to navigate the turbulent waters of modern innovation. A humble leader can inspire his tech crew with true loyalty, and that’s what’s needed on the IT seas.