Solving the leadership conundrum.

Organizational problem: moving from the hub and spoke, one leader model, to real team work: Why Motivating Others Starts With Using The Right Language (Via Lifehacker).

  • Cultural problem: competing as a team vs infighting. The road to capitalism is paved with soviet style run companies.
  • Cultural problem: countering the office politics, no bloody idea of professionalism mentality that pervades in certain societies.
  • Cultural problem: dealing with coworkers with little motivation, or obstructionists.
  • Cultural problem: those of us who don’t want to be “the leader”.

Partial  solution: a transparent framework in which people move from being told what to do to proposing solutions and needing less oversight:

  1. Tell me what to do.
  2. I think…
  3. I recommend…
  4. I’d like to…
  5. I intend to…
  6. I just did…
  7. I’ve been doing…

Each step up implies:

  1. Knowing what each function does, the inputs required and output expected.
  2. Better knowledge of what we do as a team: results.
  3. More responsibilities, more freedom.
  4. Less managing costs which could be specified (e.g. hours of manager’s time).
  5. Better communication so your own manager doesn’t need to track you down.




Lessons from the debacle (NY Times)

Tension and Flaws Before Health Website Crash.

  • The old “more is better” approach from bureaucrats doesn’t cut it online. This applies not just to governments but also to private contractors trying to woo their clients.
  • You need to have a single person in charge, able to say “no” to different parties, whatever their political stature.
  • Since there is a political component (states could opt out, for starters), you need to include it in the planning, being as risk averse as possible (make it work whether they opt in or not, even if that meant no customized state home pages).
  • Tender the specs first, then its implementation, to reduce risk? With a panel before the second phase to establish whether it can be done, tying its outcome to the payout of the first stage. This is a common failure even among private parties: salespeople promise the moon.
  • The audience was poorly defined, and needed a champion with enough clout to keep it the central focus: it became politicians and bureaucrats, not the actual consumer.
  • The agency blatantly did not have the abilities required to manage the project.