Missions are not always impossible
Since bankers first came into being, we have been trying to solve one of the most mindboggling puzzles in human history. How do you grow your business while cutting costs?
Frankly, I’ve never been very good at this. I got the juniors to play with the data, make it seem like the business was growing and pray to god that the bosses were so drunk that they would fail to notice all the disclaimers we sneaked in.
That was how I usually did it, but one of my old buddies has found a much better solution.
After two consecutive years of being nagged about the lack of growth and increasing expenditure, my friend finally made a decision — cut his head of syndicate, who was an MD, and replace him with one of the firm's directors.
He then used the money saved to hire one vice-president and an analyst, which in his words successfully expanded the team’s executional capabilities while removing the deadweight of a good-for-nothing MD whose only job was to sign documents.
This, to be fair, is not groundbreaking. The catch is that whoever is being promoted in terms of responsibilities is usually also promised a rise in rank. In this case, my friend told the director he would be made MD in one year.
Of course, when that happens everything will go back to square one but with the hassle of the extra headcount.
Sounds silly, but then again, my friend had obviously thought this through. Nobody knew but he had been promised a switch in positions in six months, meaning he could leave the team with his head held high, and leave the others to pick up the pieces afterwards. What a guy!