Laflamme’s Eighth Rule

I don’t know how I forgot this when writing up my rules earlier, but here’s another:

  • Whoever cares most about an outcome should own the process to get there.

Sometimes, perhaps often, the people who can get something done don’t actually care it happens or not. They’re just doing their job, and they don’t get extra credit for oiling something so 10% more widgets come down the line every day. If you say, “Hey, we should oil the Widget Delivery System for better efficiency,” they may nod and agree, but it may start in 20th place on their list of things to do.

If I care about an outcome, even if I barely contribute to it, I’ll make sure the people I need are engaged and committed. If they aren’t, it matters more to me than to them, unless I can make it matter to them. It doesn’t matter if I use a carrot or a stick, but I have to use one or the other, because otherwise they have little incentive to emphasize the step that matters to me.

Correspondingly, if I don’t care much about how fast a sports car can drive from Madison to Milwaukee, asking me to test that and walking away is a waste of energy. I really have no reason to test that. I’d drive the speed limit while pondering how wasteful or decadent this particular sports car is. That’s if I do it; I might decide to ride my bicycle or take a nap instead.

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