Monthly Archives: November 2015

If it’s Complicated, Manage…If it’s Complex, LEAD

 |  Leadership

Complicated businessOne of the central principles of 20th Century Organizational Leadership was the ability of humans to manage highly complicated organizations.  This was done by looking at the goal of the organization as an endpoint or an output and predicting all of the many small steps and actions needed to achieve success, and then doing them.  Dependencies were considered, alternative scenarios were analyzed, and contingency plans made. Budgeting and forecasting became an art and by the end of the 20th century began to be supported by massive amounts of computerized data.  The goal was to break each action, each contingency, each scenario into small, simple, easily recognized and understood actions, which if adhered to reliably created a desired result.  This led to ever more efficient operationalization.  Workers in carefully defined narrow specialties became highly efficient in executing that specialty.  Managers led their workers by controlling the responsibility of each worker and commanding them on how to accomplish their contribution to the organization’s endeavors.  Thus cars, airplanes and power plants could be manufactured in progressively efficient ways making them cheaper to produce.  Relying on the same principle of breaking complicated matters onto small efficient parts,  wars were waged faster and with less loss of American life as the Century progressed and closed.

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