Friday, February 19, 2021

The Tide and the Waves

"You can judge a leader by the size of problem he tackles - people nearly always pick a problem their own size, and ignore or leave to others the bigger or smaller ones. The chief executive should be thinking about the long-term change which will bring growth or decay to different parts of the enterprise, not fussing over day-to-day problems. Other people can cope with the waves, it's his job to watch the tide. And yet you find boards of directors spending hours discussing priorities in the allocation of parking space when they move into the new building, you find executives deliberately holding a meeting down to trivial points, because that is all they can cope with. The trouble is that if the top management is thinking at too low a level, there are no levels left for the rest of the staff to think at, and they spawn a generation of managerial pygmies."

- Antony Jay in Management and Machiavelli: An Inquiry into the Politics of Corporate Life [published in 1967]

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