Last Friday on Twitter, I was lamenting the compulsion of new people on existing projects to revisit and reinvent every prior decision and action, rather than focus their energy on execution. I tagged the tweets reinvention week. My opening salvos:
Wouldn’t it be cool if new people to a project focused on getting it done, rather than reinvention? #reinventionweek #EntArch
We need to value execution on par with creation. #entarch #reinventionweek
These sparked a conversation with Sally Bean and Neil Ward-Dutton on why this happens: ego, uncertainty, lack of communication and so on.
Certainly, there are instances when revisitation is required, and is the mission of the new person. However, in my experience, too frequently the need is driven by ego. Either, in placing a stamp on the project, or in moving the project to the technology, standards, patterns the new person is expert on, and therefore most likely to be seen as a star and/or become a key player.
In our twitter back and forth, Sally Bean offered: “that’s why we need to hire smart lazy people, not smart industrious ones.”
Sally was referring to Field Marshal Bernhard Graf von Moltke’s model on categorizing officers:
• Smart & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
• Smart & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
• Dumb & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm
• Dumb & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause thing to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.
I hadn’t see this model before. It’s an interesting take on matching talent (or not) to positions. We always think we need “smart and energetic”. Yet, in a multitude of situations, “smart and lazy” is the better way to go.