The "First 100%"

Jefferson vs Hamilton.
Child rearing.
Delegating.
Organization structure.

“It’s” all about—”the first 100%”—centralization vs decentralization.

How tight the reins?
How much slack?

The child will never learn until she’s on her own and been through a full set of disasters. But you don’t want any ill to come her way—so you keep the reins tight!
So …

Jefferson believed in “We the people.”
Hamilton said: Centralize. Strong executive.
(We’re fighting about “it” 220 years or so later.)

Every (!!—no rounding error) person who makes it into the history books is by definition insanely (!!—no rounding error) disobedient—doesn’t “buy the act;” has contempt for his-her “betters.”
But we tell our kids in school to “sit still, follow the rules, and behave.”

The essence of the boss’s job (including bosses of 5-person project teams) is the art—never science!—of dealing with the always gyrating centralization—decentralization balance-tension.

These thoughts are the product of a recent row over the imposition (right word, per me) of “best practice” standards in a big company.

I love best practices.
I hate best practices.

I love them when they are available to learn from.
I hate them when they demand mimicry.

True, very true, you will never “get it right” (nation, child rearing, your 27-person unit), but I bet you (I guarantee!) that you will slowly get it wrong. That is, unless fanatically managed there is an Axiomatic Drift Toward Centralization. (A/K/A human nature.) I humbly suggest that Creeping Centralization is the cause of the lion’s share of most CC/Corporate Collapse.

Tighten the reins!
Avoid screw-ups!
Stagnate!
Die!

Tom Peters posted this on March 5, 2007, in Strategies.
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