Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cold Hard Direction

Can a director be emotive? Can they be happy to debate questions with uncertainty towards the answer or do they have to be direct. The latter being an obvious choice - direct... Director.

Racing through a variety of similes, an equivalent to a director in the military can surely not be emotive? An equivalent in catering however can be extremely emotive. Sure, both have a colourful vocabulary, and both have to shout out orders without a moment's hesitation. Yet whilst one is expected to 'know' exactly what to do regardless of how cold the request, the other is expected to demonstrate variety. The cruelty of the analogy being that I've never heard of someone loosing their life to a head chef.

In business, where a director is hardly required to 'shout out orders without a moment's hesitation' is it necessary to require militarian coldness? Indecision would be unsettling. So a director must provide clear 'direction'. Yet to get there, does that preclude a director from demonstrating variety as per the head chef?

Business is, and can only be, competitive. It is unbelievably fickle, or at least it's customers are. A decision today may not be the right decision for tomorrow. I suppose in the same way a Major has to make cold hard decisions with the intelligence s/he has at that time, so does a director - and sure, lives are on the line in both instances.

The analogy actually breaks down. A Major on the outside of it all is cold and calculated, yet in the 'War Room' he is challenging every ounce of intelligence. He is taking in all the intelligence and from his advisors will conclude a directive. So a Major is equally experimental and potentially emotive... after all, it's not in his interest to loose lives, especially on the battlefield.

It would appear to me that when someone is not a director (a Major) they perceive the decisions as lacking colour, variety, understanding of the detail - lacking emotion. Yet the needs for that vocation are the opposite.

My question then - when looking from within, promoting from within, looking at personal development, should you be looking for the cold, decisive, authoritarians? Possibly not. Yet how often does this happen? When you are looking for the ones that can really change your company, give it the competitive edge, save lives - who is it that truly stands out?

No comments:

Post a Comment