February 13, 2012—Issue #125
This week’s focus point: Despite the historical claims that “involvement” and “consensus” and “commitment over compliance” are important for employee productivity and performance, I’ve often thought that high-performing cultures are imposed more than gelled. Referent, charismatic leaders can galvanize people to action and add the important element of speed, which is often the victim of consensus and involvement. Steve Jobs was known as a tough guy, as was Roy Vagelos as CEO of Merck and Jack Welch as CEO of GE. But they achieved startling results and developed loyal employees. Perhaps one problem is that instead of developing great leaders we’ve tried to compensate for mediocre ones by asking people to take on some of those accountabilities at lower pay grades. Order in the world often (usually?) must be imposed. Perhaps high performance must be as well.
Monday Morning Perspective: The best is the enemy of the good. — Voltaire
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