Picture credit: Lisa Congdon
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Odd how this often gets submerged in the daily grind of things.
This infographic from Lifehack caught my eye.
Apple wasn’t just Steve Jobs of course and in all likelihood reality was far more complex than that illustrated above but it’s nevertheless stimulating food for thought. In particular the emphasis on secrecy which is quite at odds with ‘sharing’ company cultures.
An example is provided by the iPhone development project (see here):
Secrecy on the project was so rigid that the few employees who were directly involved (Christie described his team as “shockingly small” but wouldn’t elaborate on an exact figure) could only work on it at home if they did so in a secluded part of their homes, cut off from other family members. All images of the device were to be encrypted.
“Rather than trying to prevent all errors, we should assume, as is almost always the case, that our people’s intentions are good and that they want to solve problems. Give them responsibility, let the mistakes happen, and let people fix them. If there is fear, there is a reason – our job is to find the reason and to remedy it. Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the ability to recover.” – Ed Catmull
This quote made me think about the time when I managed a team of consultants. On the whole matters were fine but occasionally I’d get a problem where I’d have to step in and sort things out (with the customer and consultant). Most of the issues were ‘people problems’, personality conflicts and so on.
Looking back, partly due to the hectic pace of work, I mostly adopted the approach of ‘patch and move on’ whilst bearing in mind to avoid similar situations in the future (by allocating different staff). However this didn’t resolve the underlying problem. As the quote above highlights, it’s sometimes best to identify the underlying reason and then try to remedy it (with the person concerned) even if this can be a time-consuming process.
The quote above was spotted on Brain Pickings.