Thursday, June 02, 2005

Requirement: Must have a heart

It seems strange but it's true, our company doesn't have a heart. It's all about "the bottom line" which is a rather short-sighted view when you stop to think about it. How can you do long range planning for the Enterprise when you are always looking down . . . at the bottom line.

A leader leads, sees afar off, points in the distant horizon and says: "That's the way this ship is headed." If the captain is always in his cabin writing down the way-points, if he never comes up on deck, if he never inspires vision in his compatriots, then is he a leader? Or merely a recorder of the journey. He's just a manager, barking orders at the crew. A manager is not a leader. The managers tell the crew to row, count out the strokes, and toss some slop down the galley. But the leader tells the crew there is an end of the agony, a silver lining, an island of coconuts. There are very few leaders nowadays. They've all left the Enterprise. They've all retired, gone off to spend more time with their families and "seek other opportunities." They no longer stay on and mentor the others. They have no useful life after death.

This morning we were talking about how little heart is left in any of upper management. They should hire at least one guy who's only requirement is he have a heart. No education would be needed, just the heart. Put a stethoscope to the chest, if there is something beating, hire him, on the spot! He'd be the ballast of the ship, the balancing element, the one with veto power. When a decision is about to be made they've have to run it by the guy with the heart. He could say NO if he wanted and they'd have to comply.

The Regarding Henry (1991) flick staring Harrison Ford was a movie about a hard business man. He was a driving, merciless man at work and at home. Screaming at his 10 year old kid for spilling the milk at the dinner table.

Then something awful happened to him. He was in an accident and had amnesia. Nothing was the same. He was a completely different person, soft, kind, and caring. Everything he wasn't before.

That's what needs to happen. The Enterprise needs amnesia. They need to forget everything about bottom lines and numbers.

But really, it wouldn't be as bad as that if only the stock would go up. Who cares about the craziness, we'd deal with it, if only the price of the company stock would show improvement.

I still say, we need someone with a heart. Keep all the MBA guys, sure. But put someone in there to balance the powers to add a heart.

"A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him." -H. S. M. Burns quotes