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Management styles: are you a Buffett or a Gates?


Every senior manager makes a critical decision every day of his or her working life. Mostly, the decision is unconscious, but is no less vital for that. The issue is simply stated with three questions…

  • What work do I reserve for myself?
  • What work do I delegate to other people?
  • How do I control their performance?

Two friends provide a most remarkable case study of two totally contrasting sets of answers – the world's two richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The software czar has kept his fingers in every pie and has ruled the actions of his delegates by constant and fierce interrogations – which have often reversed their decisions. The great investor (some of whose other ideas were discussed here last month) reserves only two functions for himself: allocating Berkshire Hathaway's capital (which he loves to do) and helping 15 or 20 senior managers to 'keep a group of people enthused about what they do when they have no financial need whatsoever to do it'.


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