JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is boss to more than 256,000 employees worldwide, including more than 170,000 in the United States. The company currently has a market cap of over $340 billion, and Dimon himself is worth $1.3 billion, according to Forbes.
So how does Dimon, 63, manage the company? Carefully.
"At the end of the day, everything we do is done by human beings," Dimon says in his annual letter to investors, published Friday. "For any large organization, great management is critical to its long-term success."
Here's what makes a great boss, according to Dimon, as shared in his 2018 letter for shareholders.
Winging it isn't going to work. Measure results, and determine what's working and what's not.
"Great management is disciplined and rigorous. Facts, analysis, detail … facts, analysis, detail … repeat. You can never do enough, and it does not end," Dimon says. "Complex activity requires hard work and not guessing. Test, test, test and learn, learn, learn. And accept failure as a 'normal' recurring outcome."
Data is not going to solve every problem. "Develop great models but know that they are not the answer – judgment has to be involved in matters related to human beings," says Dimon.
"You need to have good decision-making processes, with the right people in the room, the proper dissemination of information and the appropriate follow-up – all to get to the right decision. Force urgency and kill complacency. Know that there is competition everywhere, all the time."
The higher up the management chain you go, the more you are going to need to depend on others, and that can be scary.
"As managers rise in an organization, they depend on others more and more. The team is increasingly important – many team members know more than their managers do about certain issues – a team working together can get to a better outcome," Dimon says.
"I have seen many senior managers ascend into big new roles with a bad reaction to their increasing dependence on other people – by hoarding information, never allowing themselves to be embarrassed and demanding personal loyalty versus loyalty to the organization and its principles. They don't grow into the new job – they swell into it," Dimon says. "I have often felt that dependency on their teams makes these folks feel paranoid or insecure – leading to this bad behavior."
"Good leaders have the humility to know that they don't know everything. They foster an environment of openness and sharing. They earn trust and respect," Dimon says.
"There are no 'friends of the boss' – everyone gets equal treatment. The door is universally open to everybody. Everyone knows that these leaders are only trying to do the right thing for customers and clients. They share the credit when things go well and take the blame when it does not," he writes.
"True leaders don't just show they care – they actually do care. While they demand hard work and effort, they work as hard as anyone, and they have deep empathy for their employees under any type of stress," Dimon says.
"They are patriots not mercenaries; they have the heart to wear the jersey every day."
Don't be so distracted by the daily ups and downs that you lose sight of the big picture.
"We do not worry about the stock price in the short run. If you continue to build a great company, the stock price will take care of itself….While we fanatically manage our company, we do not worry about missing revenue or expense budgets for good reasons. This is not a mixed message," Dimon says.
Source: Fact Set
"We want our leaders to do the right thing for the long term and explain it if they have good reasons to diverge from prior plans. We do not worry about charge-offs increasing in a recession — we fully expect it, and we manage our business knowing there will be good times and bad times."
"Competition is everywhere, but, often, very successful companies are lulled into a false sense of security. Having worked at a number of companies not nearly as successful as ours (I have to confess that I kind of liked being the underdog), we fought every day to even try to get to the major leagues," Dimon says.
"All companies are subject to inertia, insipid bureaucracy and other flaws, which must be eradicated. If a company isn't staying on edge, maintaining a fire in its belly and pushing forward, it will eventually fail."
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