Apple After Jobs from Portfolio.com
Key points from the article: Clock builders devote themselves to creating a system that can keep going no matter who is in charge. Sam Walton of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was like that. So was Charles Coffin, the first president of General Electric Co. And Intel’s Grove. The founders of the United States were clock builders.
Time tellers tend to be CEOs whom everyone in the company looks to for answers; they can tell the time, but no one else can. And since the CEO is so good at this, no one below him or her bothers to learn how. So once the time teller leaves, the company is left ill-equipped and can descend into mediocrity or even chaos.`
What are you building? A company (division/organization) that will endure and thrive after your tenure or a company dependent on your constant time telling? While the later makes you indispensable, it’s difficult to sustain even while you are there.
It turns out that great CEO’s are dually competent in working through two types of challenges. They are savvy in reacting to their current business environment. Second, they intentionally shape their business for a desired future. They shape their business by guiding processes, not by controlling them. A leader with a compelling vision (yes the dreaded vision thing) is prepared to guide well. Control is an illusion, enduring leaders wield influence. Control is the “crack cocaine” of management. An addiction that leads to no where great. Nor can the mortal person sustain control for very long. (Unless, of course you are one of the few people that Robert Caro has featured in a several hundred page book.) A vision frees your people to act, while you help them remove barriers to their and your success. Let go of control. Build a clock with your team, teach them how work it and they will always know what time it is.
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