Here’s a link to last week’s Monday Morning Memo, The Other Kind of Excellence, Part One.
These are the words of an Entrepreneur who has an idea half-formed and a dream bigger than the sunrise. He or she believes that if you leap, a net will appear. Entrepreneurs are confident in the street-smarts they glean from their failures and their optimistic futurevision lets them see beyond the awkward and ugly “proof-of-concept” phase to the glowing innovation that lies beyond it.
These are the words of a strong Leader: the champion of the tribe, the perfect embodiment of commitment. He or she can be trusted to think on their feet, improvise when necessary and infuse co-workers with their passion. If you turn to the right – toward Excellence through Poise and Responsiveness – you will need strong team leaders.
These are the words of an effective Manager: the guardian of the style guide, the protector of the status quo. He or she can be trusted to implement processes and insure that employees conform to policies and follow procedures. If you turn to the left – toward Excellence through Planning and Execution – you will need an effective manager.
Managers and Leaders are natural enemies.
The Manager thinks the Leader is reckless and undisciplined and sloppy.
The Leader can’t decide whether the Manager is a tight-ass robot or a pencil-pushing sourpuss who was weaned on a pickle.
Leaders thrive amidst chaos and feel handcuffed by order.
Managers are repulsed by chaos and feel empowered by order.
Most organizations are
begun by entrepreneurs,
grown by leaders, and later
optimized by managers.
Companies built on passionate Poise and Responsiveness are difficult to sustain long-term. Can you think of one that has kept the spring in its step and the sparkle in its eye for more than a decade or two? Poise and Responsiveness often give way to Planning and Execution so that systems and methods and techniques and procedures can be created, allowing consistent results to be obtained by average people.
Excellent people are hard to find, hard to keep and expensive to pay.
Average people are everywhere.
If your organization is suffering because you can’t find enough excellent people, you are probably a leader who needs to give some of your authority to a manager who will create systems and policies and methods and procedures.
But if your organization is feeling a little stale and out-of-touch and behind-the-times and you feel it needs a transfusion of energy, you’re probably a manager who needs to give some of your authority to a leader.
A leader is a highly productive troublemaker, an artist who knows which rules to break, which procedures to change, which policies to end and which mountain to climb.
There really are two roads to Excellence.
– Roy H. Williams