Leadership, How NOT to Do It

United States Navy old style Enlisted Submarin...

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I write quite a lot about leadership, as you know. As you also know, most of my experience is in small organizations. I like it that way because of several factors, some of which you are going to learn about today. One of the things you’ve seen me harp on a lot is how small business can outperform large business all week and twice on Sunday.

Mostly, it has to do with adaptability and response time.

Mstrmac711 over at the theleansubmariner had a post up at the end of August that I missed to my detriment. He writes about some of the nonsense we all go through with large organizations and the government (shudder).

He Calls it:

If you are going to lead, LEAD!


You and your team are standing outside of a burning building. The fire isn’t very big yet but its obvious that it has the potential to become a major conflagration. Time is a key element in any damage control situation. Yes, it’s important to understand the threat in order to apply the right resources and equipment. But the real time to assess the threat is long before the threat emerges. Decisions have consequences. So do mistakes in most large organizations.

Back to the burning building scenario. Here is one of the strategies that I have seen that absolutely astounded me:

Let’s form a steering group!

This is an incredibly effective way for “managers” not to be tagged with any imminent failures. It’s somewhat logical to a matrix organization since it will give the illusion that all of the stakeholders will be represented and heard.

If you are involved in a group, you need to read it all.

Since, like all of you, I occasionally have to play CYA games, too. I’m going to shamelessly steal his disclaimer.

Mandatory Disclaimer

No one living, dead or yet to be born should ever be perceived as having been represented in this short allegorical illustration… I apologize to any Indians of any tribe who may be offended by this fictional diatribe… I love you guys and have spent a lot of money at your casinos to prove it… my sincere apologies to all Safety Professionals who’s goals in life are to prevent injuries and permanent damage to their people (I know that none of you would ever put your inflated ego ahead of anyone’s safety or career)… and to all of my Brothers and Sisters in HR, you know I respect you in an appropriate way that is non-committal, deemed to be offensive, and certainly not intended to breach any known or unknown policies in regards to race, creed, color, sex, sexual persuasion, fevered imagination of an imaginary threat or in any way that might possibly demean or diminish any individual freedom or right in anyone except myself and all those like me who do not otherwise fit into a protected category by Federal Law and secret tribunals.

If I missed anyone, might I suggest you form a Steering Group to discuss the matter?

Thanks, Mister Mac

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