Governments all around the world are now, reluctantly,
cutting their expenditure. However, after years of using the shovel to pile the
cash on, they have no idea how to use pruning shears to cut waste without
cutting useful public services.
So here is a useful rule of thumb: if you cannot tell what
someone actually does by their job title, there is a good chance that their post
is surplus to requirements – as is the superior who thought up the title.
Happily, the fashion for silly job titles
seems to be fading.
As with most crimes against good business practice, it is the public sector,
then big business, who are the usual suspects, and most small businesses are
As well as giving a bad impression of an organisation,
meaningless job titles are unnecessary barriers to communication. In
particular, everything should be made as easy as possible for the customer –
and business can be lost if confusing job titles mean that a promising lead
speaks to the wrong person.
In any case, pompous and high-sounding titles are always particularly
out of place in a small business. “Sales Manager” seems more honest and
reliable than “Director of Marketing”, “Works Manager” than “Director of
Operations”, and “Personnel Officer” than “Director of Human Resources”.
This applies above all to the Boss. For an entrepreneur to
call himself “Group Chairman, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer”
is counter-productive when he is the only one in the company. He is immediately
revealed as a poser, not a serious businessman.
Better to stick with a simple, discreet “Director” on the
Modesty can be an asset in business – an asset in the very
literal, financial sense of the word.