Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Human Factor

I once attended an extended workshop on political campaigns. One of the speakers spoke about campaign commercials and publications. One of his lines about bumper stickers stayed with me. He said, "They're only good if they can be read through a splatter of mud while passing you at 65 miles an hour."

Which brings me to management. The brilliant plan will only work if it can be executed by tired, overworked people who are of average/above average intelligence with a limited attention span and goals of their own. Don't count on the appearance of wizards, angels, sunny days, happy team mates or photographic memories. If you expect various stages to operate like clock work, go home now and take any reliance on luck with you.

In short, the plan has to be able to survive the human factor. That's complicated enough.


Dan in Philly said...

I remember listening to a series of lectures years ago on what the speaker called "Eagle Spotting." The gist was how to find the kinds of employees/co-workers/managers who are high flyers. Over time they generally rise to the top, but at any given time they may be anywhere in an organization, and sometimes they choose lower level for other reasons.

At any rate, the great thing about finding such a person is to the point of your post. You can generally count on them to be brilliant, to consider your goals and execute them, to execute a brilliant plan brilliantly. Such people are worth their weight in gold. Of course the trick is not just to find such people, but to become one yourself!

I always associate this with what Stonewall Jackson was to Lee, or what Sherman was to Grant. One of those rare birds who understood the wishes of the commander and could be relied upon to do it.

Michael Wade said...


I like that point. It also ties in with how to be one of those Eagles who are invaluable to the leader.