Thursday, April 19, 2012


By Pascal Dennis

My blog, "The Illusion of Top-Down Control", generated lively comment!

Thanks, all.

Several people asked, "Why are some leaders so arrogant as to believe they can manage from a distance, without involving the front line, without getting their hands dirty?"

Here are a few thoughts:

We're seeing a "splitting" in society -- in income, at the very least.

Those fortunate few who are well connected, or whose parents pave the way to business & professional schools, or who are smart & simply work their butts off, are reaping outsized rewards.

Often they live in 'gated' communities, further isolating them.

I'd guess some begin to believe, "I achieved this by myself -- because I'm smart, talented and hard-working!"


Our senseis at Toyota Cambridge had a good countermeasure

Regular butt-kickings on the shop floor! Fair, firm, and (in my case) usually well-deserved.

"Always so difficult with you Pascal-san!"

"You have learned nothing, Pascal-san."

"This is NOT countermeasure!"

Our senseis made us to face up to reality:
  1. the weaknesses in our management systems,

  2. the problems we didn't understand well enough to solve, and so on.

So, perhaps another root cause of this debilitating, isolating hubris, is not enough senseis.

When it comes to hubris, we'd be wise to remember Euripides:

"He who the gods would destroy, they first hold high."

Arrogant, out-of-touch leaders degrade their organizations, and ultimately, their society.

Even if you, personally, emerge unscathed, your children and grandchildren will not.



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