Getting to Done

leadership Nov 10, 2022

As Andy Grove once noted: "A manager's work is never done. There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done." (High Output Management, p. 47)

I naively asked Curtis when taking on the President role, "What if I can get all my work done in just 35 hours?" (I think I had recently read a Tim Ferris book or something). How cute a notion. He was kind about it, smiling, and asking a few directed questions but the lack of true understanding in even asking the questions is humorous to me now. When working on a system, you can get to various levels of "done". When working with people, there are no such levels. People are complex and ever evolving but you need to understand what work you need to do and what work you can ignore.

Be a fire marshal not a fire fighter. Install smoke detectors to know what's truly a dangerous blaze and what's just someone's poor cooking skills. One you can ignore (or maybe even coach to) and it will be resolved without consuming your attention. The other should have your full attention ASAP.