Just watched “Undercover bosses” program with William Reeve, company director of Paddy Power and an USA version with Joel Manby, president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment. I was quite surprised as in both programs, CEOs don’t end up firing staff but instead remove impediments to their employees such as providing children care support, scholarship programs, trainings or better facilities etc. They also look at the very good things employees are doing and see how this can be transferred to other parts of the company.
That reminded me of a book I read a few years ago: “Execution, The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Ram Charan, Larry Bossidy and Charles Burck”. To get things done, Larry Bossidy (who spent more than 30 years rising into executive power at General Electric) would go and see whether their business strategy was implemented by visiting and talking to employees at the workshop (in the factories) as opposed to having “leaders […] allowed to remain detached and rendered incapable of developing skills and experience related to execution, efforts at creating and running an execution strategy will fail, from the top down”
Just a few months ago I was looking for information on agile governance and found this interesting webinar featuring Nigel Dalton, GM IT, Lonely Planet, and his definition of governance was “executives should talk to teams directly in front of teams task board”. I recently attended an agile breakfast and I was a bit disapointed that a CXO said he was too busy to talk to teams and getting reports was his way to run governance…
These examples from “Undercover bosses”, Larry Bossidy and Nigel Dalton are in my opinion very similar: you can wait for release rundown charts from your favorite web tool or you can make the most of the agile manifesto: interactions and individuals over processes and tools. If Bossidy can do it, sure we can!
[reference 1: book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Execution-Discipline-Getting-Things-Done/dp/0712625984]
[reference 2: webinar: http://www.thoughtworks.com/agile-governance-managing-the-enterprise-issues]