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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

People want structure, not micromanagement!

Seaclutch, boat, yacht, RV, Picture frame
People want structure, not micromanagement!

“It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people and they tell us what to do.” Steve Jobs

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head -- that's assault, not leadership.” Dwight Eisenhower

I often find myself involved in discussions about “governance”. Sometimes it is a discussion about the hard science of Project Management and the framework provided by the base lined Project Management Plan. On other occasions, it is a more philosophical take on management and the controls necessary to effectively run a large enterprise.

Project Managers understand that you need to determine the needs of your specific project and “tailor” the plan to optimize the governance required to deliver the project. Larger projects may require a complex plan, but smaller projects may not require all the PMI® process groups. For projects, you need just the right amount of governance.

But what about non project managers and executives? Unfortunately, I often see a “more is better” approach to governance. If one report is good, 10 are better! If we do an internal audit of one process, we should do them all! If one employee screws up, we need to put controls on all of them!

Sound familiar?

I had a mentor once tell me that governance is not like money – you actually can have too much of it.

Metaphors are risky but let me try one.

I was walking my dog at the marina this weekend. Tucker is a very large chocolate lab and is well behaved on the leash. He occasionally pulls, but normally he just walks calmly in front me, tugging just enough to make sure that I am holding the other end of the leash. Here is a funny thing about Tucker. If I take off the leash completely, he will take off and roam around whatever area we are in. He’s a good dog and comes back to me when called, but he feels empowered to go ahead without me.

But, if I just drop the leash, he will stay right next to me! I don’t even need to hold it. Just the fact that it is attached to his collar reminds him that there are boundaries that need to be remembered. I am not dominating him or forcing my will on him, I am helping him to stay safe and interact in a positive way in whatever situation he finds himself in.

Clearly I am not implying that employees are like a dog on a leash! I am trying to illustrate that governance should not be heavy handed or overly intrusive, rather it should provide guidance that helps your team safely navigate any circumstance they might find themselves in.


I really enjoy writing and am very prolific. In addition to this blog, I have another blog at www.seaclutch.com, two YouTube Channels, and I am actively writing two different novels. I travel a lot and find myself with a lot of downtime away from my family. Rather that get into the habit of sitting in a bar watching TV, I get in a quick workout, have a healthy dinner and write for a couple of hours before I go to bed. I submitted two manuscripts to publishers, and several companies are interested in publishing them. More to follow!


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