Friday, February 3, 2017

Random morning thought...

Random morning thought...  While I was reading the news this morning about the 63,411 things that Trump did last night, a memory surfaced: some advice I got many years ago from an executive trying to teach me how to manage an engineering group.  He told me the most important thing I could do was simply to do.  When I looked baffled, he said “Do something, even if it’s wrong!”  That led to a more interesting discussion about the importance, in leadership, of making decisions and setting a course of action.  Even more interesting was his assertion that a core skill of managers is the ability to make decisions in the presence of imperfect or even absent information.

I felt the truth of that advice on many occasions in my decades of management experience.  I was surprised by just how often subordinates would be unable (or unwilling, to the same effect) to make a decision and instead raised it to me.  I hope it's true that I didn't do the same to my bosses!

What dawned on me this morning is we're seeing that principle in action at the level of the President of the U.S.  The sheer speed with which Trump is taking actions means that we're seeing low information decision-making.  Well, I guess there's one other possibility: that all these actions were queued up in some master plan.  I'll dismiss that, however, on the basis that if any such plan actually existed certainly it's presence would have leaked, and most likely much of its contents.  So I think it's more likely that it's “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” that's going on.

So here's the big question: is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

I really don't know.  I do know, however, that it's frightening.

I'm handling it this morning by listening to Frank Zappa's Apostrophe, which ever gives me joy...

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