30 July 2012

Organizational power

I was struck by this passage in a kvetch from Sean Oliver about the new Apple Genius TV ads:

Collateral like this happens when there is no creative vision coming down from senior leaders. When leaders delegate the vision downward, middle managers end up having to make the final call, but in almost all cases they don’t have the power to do so alone. So, they go about securing buy-off from multiple teams, and the result was leadership by committee.

I'd say this principle applies not just to advertising collateral but to almost everything the organization does. My interests lie in product & design, so I see this pattern all of the time in that domain, but I feel confident in presuming that it applies to just about anything an organization does.

Oliver implies that organizations need more creative vision coming down from senior leaders. That's great when you can get it, but I propose a better alternative: empower those middle managers so that they can make the final call alone.

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