Don´t regret your monkeys

You can lead your team 3 ways:

Number one, the blank page...

Number two, the frame...

And number three, connect the dots...

The blank page gives no drive, it is the absence of management.

Connecting the dots has many advantages:

  • It is accesible to anyone. That means there are a lot of people you can count on to perform this task. That means that is cheap.
  • The learning curve is almost inexistent, so you can switch people around easily.
  • It is easy to measure. Just track how long does it take for a person to complete, and how accurately are the dots connected and you can create a productivity index.
  • The results you get are very consistent across people.

Drawing a monkey by connecting the dots can actually be done by a monkey. In fact, if you apply connecting the dots you will grow monkeys in your team. Don´t expect then that someone comes up with a better procedure, or a better design, or a better idea. But look, this goes one step further: managing by connecting the dots can also be done by a monkey. All you need to do is order people by productivity, fire the last 5%, reward the top 5%, repeat.

Connecting the dots will never produce this:

Or this:

I don´t want to oversimplify here, and there are a lot of "it depends" on this, as always. But in the world I live in, monkeys do not save the day, or make the difference, or help win deals. Give people a frame and let them paint their own story, that´s when you get some soul in what you do, and soul is today more important than ever.

Enjoy the weekend!