About the Founder of Senior Management Services
An Interview with Mike Hayden
Index of questions (all links on this page)
What is your background besides high-tech?
I learned the importance of LOGISTICS & CUSTOMER SERVICE in the restaurant business (often on the wrong end of a stove) as I worked my way through college. I cooked in or managed kitchens in food franchises, dinner houses, large institutions, even yachts. I was a guest chef at Franklin House in San Francisco, and wrote "The Handbook of Hassle-Free Homecookin'" (2003).
I learned "you bet your life" DISCIPLINE and LOGISTICS as a sport parachutist and in numerous martial arts (Aikido, Tai Chi, Hsing Yi, Bagua, Chi Kung). I have taught Tai Chi to scores of students in the Bay Area.
I learned the importance of CLARITY when I taught logic and set theory to 5th graders in Redwood City.
Mike, why did you decide to create Senior Management Services?
Senior Management Services (SMS) evolved from the Documentation Express in 1984. Let me give you some background.
After several years as a software engineer, I founded the Documentation Express in 1974, to help Silicon Valley software companies develop their technical (API) documentation, design specifications, and end-user manuals.
Back then, most people hated to write documentation - just like they do today! Nevertheless, you must have good documentation to make complex systems usable.
Meanwhile, I noticed that many Silicon Valley companies suffered the same fate as many Silicon Valley products -- FAILURE due to lack of useful documentation. You need an "operators manual" for a company the same way you need one for a computer.
So, 10 years later, I founded Senior Management Services to help companies develop their business documentation.
Why does a company need an Operations Manual?
As W. Edwards Deming said,
So, what did you do about your own lack of structure and Operations Manuals?
In 1984, I decided to use our proprietary technology for developing documentation to design, document, and implement a management company as a "container," a business management prototype, for the Documentation Express.
I named our management company "Senior Management Services" because we had always served senior managers. I then organized the Documentation Express as the Operations Division (the "factory"). I used my documentation factory to write a generic business system - a SYSTEM to amplify ordinary skills into extraordinary results.
What is the basis of your business system?
I based our system on the idea behind successful franchises: great businesses depend on duplicable systems. Let me explain.
If your business results depend on extraordinary people, your business results are NOT duplicable. But, you really don't need extraordinary people to build a great business. Instead, ordinary people can build a great business by producing extraordinary results by using a duplicable SYSTEM. That's because you can duplicate systems, but not people.
It took a few years to develop, test, and document all the components of the SMS system. Thus, Senior Management Services became a firm that helps clients increase profits by using proven and documented processes.
And, as you can imagine, the SMS system continues to evolve as technology and tools change. But, the basic principles remain the same. If your business success depends on extraordinary people, eventually you'll have problems because your results depend on specific extraordinary people.
Let me say again. Great businesses depend on systems, not extraordinary people. You can duplicate systems, but not extraordinary people.
So, how did you organize your company?
The fully documented Senior Management Services (SMS) prototype includes a 5-level Org Chart. I show you only an overview of the top levels below.
Senior Management Services Organization Chart
I have written many articles on the subject of organizational strategy. And, I cover the topic in detail in my book, "Organize your Business for Success."
But Mike that looks like a typical Org Chart...
Yes, it does. But, you will find that the magic is NOT in the Org Chart.
The magic is in the management system. For example, you probably know about sports team formations. Yet, you see teams that use identical formations vary tremendously in performance! And you know that performance depends on reliable execution of the playbook (Operations Manual).
You might have seen many companies with beautiful Org Charts go bust! Why? Success depends on organizational dynamics and whether people can use a SYSTEM, a playbook if you will, to produce extraordinary results - repeatedly!
Logistics are very important. For success, whether a sports team or business, you must deploy the right stuff to the right place at the right time. If not, you can't execute properly. Similarly, you can have great logistics, but fail to execute properly.
Your SYSTEM (or lack thereof) makes the critical difference! We help clients implement a system that works.
Do you have a specific purpose?
Yes, my purpose in life is to use my entrepreneurial skills to help build successful companies where people get the job done by having fun, supporting each other, and being co-operative. The best use of my productive time, heartfelt effort, and passionate dedication is to help create effective companies through writing for and training others.
11 reasons you might NOT want to work with me.
1. You may think I'm "over qualified."
Yes, I have served scores of managers and executives in scores of companies. But does that make me "over qualified?" Or does it make me more valuable to you and your company? Don't you want more than narrow departmental experience? Today, most companies demand more responsibility. My job is about knowing my job and other's jobs. It's about knowing products, customers, and competitors packaging, price points, sales process, and profits. Can you really afford inexperience?
2. You may think I'm too expensive.
3. You may think I'm too old.
You might be intimidated because I am "older." At my age, I have gained decades of proven experience, knowledge, and vision from working with scores of managers and executives. I work out, eat right, and never take dangerous "FDA Approved" drugs. This means I am in great shape for high performance with no excuses.
4. You might not like my impatience.
Some say I'm overeager, raring to go, and lusting for fast results. They're right! Yet, I have never met a client that didn't want fast, profitable results.
5. No "college degree."
6. I tend to overdress.
Serious clothes indicate serious purpose. Money -- my client's money -- is at stake. The positive impact of a well-cut suit directly reflects my commitment to my career, my organization, and my professionalism. I wear professional attire to represent my client's companies as well as mine.
7. I am a fanatic about being on time.
My being on time sometimes makes others look bad. However, I work under agreements, procedures, and a code of ethics that allow integrity to prevail. You can count on me to be on time. I make no apologies for expecting you to do likewise.
8. I have low tolerance for people who don't keep their word.
Without integrity nothing really works -- at best, progress slows and mediocrity results. Nothing "better" nor "more important" will get in the way of me keeping my word and protecting the confidentiality of our association. I make no apologies for expecting you to keep your word.
9. I have low tolerance for stuff that doesn't work.
I hate stuff that doesn't work. My clients appreciate this because I can debug products and help improve processes, products, and services. You can count on my cooperation to make things work better by supporting the purpose, aims, and goals of our association.
10. You may think I'm too quiet.
I keep my eyes open and my mouth shut. As the "World's Quietest Salesman," I sold $millions worth of hardware, software, systems, and services. Maybe I can help you sell more stuff, too.
11. I don't have all the answers.
I am NOT a know-it-all. If I were to stick with what I already know, I would never discover what I don't know. I am often inclined to question answers. I'm an expert researcher and interviewer of Subject Matter Experts.
8 reasons to hire me instead of an employee.
1. You get my NO-FEAR GUARANTEE of performance. Results you want or your money back.
2. You need not provide equipment. I have my own equipment and software, proven over scores of projects.
3. You need not provide office space. I have my own office. And, I'm ready to travel.
4. You need not worry about complex tax and insurance issues. I handle my own taxes and insurance.
5. You don't pay for sick pay, vacation pay, or expensive employee benefits.
6. While employees focus on 40 hours per week of "face time," I focus on results and outcomes regardless of hours.
7. I bring an objective perspective based on 30+ year's experience.
8. I am able to cross organizational boundaries -- marketing, operations, finance, manufacturing, R&D, product development, sales, customer service, legal, you name it.
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NEW in Silicon Valley!
"Mike, I wasn't sure if you would fit in here. You have been a wonderful asset to the company and I hope that we will be able to do business together again." W.C., Director Engineering, ThinkFree.Com
"Nice job, Mike. I really appreciate you're coming through for ThinkFree. I found it extremely hard to find someone sufficiently diligent and competent for them who'd agree to work onsite as much as they needed. It was a major relief to have them off my "emergency" list." A.D., President, Synergistech Communications, Inc.
"Excellent! In my opinion, the best manual/tutorial Qantel has ever produced!" E.I., Manager Marketing Applications, Qantel, Hayward, CA.
"This manual is unprecedented as a user's manual for ROLM Corporation ... most complete manual that has been prepared for ROLM ACD users." D.V., ACD Product Manager, ROLM Corporation, Santa Clara, CA.
"... This is the best manual this company has brought out ... I actually read it! ... well laid out ... easy to find data quickly." Sales Rep, Diasonics, Milpitas, CA.
"We were skeptical because you were not a radiologist ... Thank you for all the effort and time ... for being flexible in the times of the day (nights) that we could work ... for thorough research, design, organization, writing, layout, accuracy ... was impressed when the manual passed our stringent Configuration Control Board without changes. Your effectiveness as an individual was a major key to the success. Excellent!" C.N., Product Marketing Specialist, Diasonics, Milpitas, CA.
"... knowing you were available for consulting and tips gave me the security to go about my tasks without fear of being 'out there alone.' Your techniques and skills are quite valuable, keep sharing them!" B.J., Consultant, San Francisco, CA.
"I really enjoy our association. I have a new look at things - and new vigor! We're now writing down everything, step-by-step, for our (operations manuals) ... and starting new maintenance classes ... it's fun and interesting. Thanks." S.G., VP Sales, High Plains Transportation, Denver, CO.
"All questions answered knowledgeably ... documents accurately prepared ... activities properly recorded and reported." E.L., Director, Information Access, Belmont, CA.
"Interaction with our personnel is effective ... services free of problems." M.M., System Network Manager, IBM/ROLM, Santa Clara, CA.
"... professional and appropriate ... always punctual ... well coordinated." J.C., System Engineer, IBM/ROLM, San Jose, CA
"I congratulate your design concept ... the job was a cinch with your having laid the design ground work ... I'll be happy to work with you again." E.L., President, InterMedia, Los Altos, CA
"Thank You! I appreciate the use of your materials." A.K., Principal, San Mateo, CA.
"Congratulations on an outstanding promotional idea!" C.G., Vice President, Data Disc, Sunnyvale, CA.
"I want to take a moment to let you know how much your support contributes to our Creative Department. Thank you again for your participation." T.C., Staff Manager, San Francisco, CA.
"I'm so pleased with the October Newsletter ... we had excellent response from it. It definitely produced action. Thanks!" D.A. Vice President, Barter Systems, San Mateo, CA.
"... recently I had the good fortune of coming across your informative newsletter ... please add me to your mailing list. Thank You." S.M.G., Principal, Harbrace House, Irvine CA.
"I, like most managers, receive a basket full of sales mail each day - most of it is trash, dull, and unimaginative. You succeed in telling about your product and yet sprinkle enough life into your letter that it got a whole reading - in fact even a response. Good work!" R.D., Director of Manufacturing, Cetec, Santa Clara, CA.
"...(we recently ran) your program ... we saved about 10 hours of machine time for a problem which used to run 18 hours!" A.B., Project Engineer, Kaman Nuclear, Colorado Springs, CO.
"Thank you very much for the effort you put forth on our project. We are all very pleased with the results you gave us." R.S., Research Scientist, Kaman Nuclear, Colorado Springs, CO.
"Thank you for your time, talent and generosity ... we are indeed impressed with your interest and dependability ... you have provided a most worthwhile service." J.D.S., Principal, Redwood City, CA.
"Thank you for minimizing the problems at SRI ... installation and acceptance of the computers at SLAC, Stanford, Singer Link. I have come to depend on your ability to get things done - and in a creative manner." B.J., District Manager, Scientific Data Systems, Sunnyvale, CA.
"(Certificate of Appreciation)É in recognition of outstanding support of TI's communication and leadership program." C. S., President, Diablo 598.
"Congratulation on achieving ATM É reflects dedication É high degree of enthusiasm É strong self discipline É effective communicator É" T. J. M., Executive Director, Toastmasters International.
"I've always had confidence in your ability and enjoy working with you. I have every confidence that your support (in this area) will be professional and helpful." C. S., Principal, OutSource.