June 08, 2011
The Hero Culture

aachen-hans-von-st-george-slaying-the-dragon.jpg

The hero culture is alive and well in many organizations.

Riding in on a white horse to rescue the company from a downward spiral, occasioned by a history of poor decisions, will win you lots of recognition and rewards.

On the other hand, insisting on the importance of truly understanding customer needs prior to deciding on a product's features... or really thinking through the technical challenges associated with achieving a desired outcome... or taking the time to engage people before instituting a difficult reorganization, will likely gain you the reputation of being an obstacle, poor team player, or just plain indecisive.

Unfortunately, being the person who seems to know all the answers and can turn things around by telling everyone what to do is often what we are looking for these days.

Creating an organization that is agile and can run on its own -- where decisions are made close to the customer and higher level managers only need to provide strategic direction and uphold key values -- is not the fastest way to "the top" these days.

What is?

Making sure your thumbprint is on every critical decision and that you're the person who always has the last word with the CEO.

So by all means -- if you want to get to the top -- do not make your organization self-sufficient, do not develop your successor, and do not make yourself anything but "indispensable".

-- Barry Gruenberg

Idea Champions
The Anti-Heroes
Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at June 8, 2011 10:34 AM

Comments

Bravo Barry, Well said and reminds me of the challenges with understanding the roles of leading an organization and managing an organization. Many leaders get asked to manage instead of casting a vision and orchestrating the process to achieve. As you said, many people just want the answers to the test and not the process of learning, which holds the real value. Great article.

Posted by: David Sollars [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 8, 2011 11:55 AM

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