Preston Smith's Corner

What should my boss do to speed up product development?

January 2000 Quick Tip

No better topic for starting a new year. Several years ago, I gave the following answer to a Silicon Valley CFO who asked this question, and my response remains the same:

This last point is the essence of leadership — as contrasted with management. Leaders recognize that the individuals and teams doing the work have better, more timely information to make decisions than they do, so they view their role as enabling rather than controlling progress.

Thus, under a true leadership environment, responsibility for success shifts back from the boss to the individual. In seminars I lead, participants often say, “I wish my manager were here to hear this.” There is certainly some truth here, but the most powerful thing most managers can do is to lead their organizations out of the Dilbert mentality.

For more on management’s role in general, see our article “Faster To Market” on the subject.

(c) Copyright 2013 Preston G. Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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