A new Manager In A Strange Land is up.
Before I submit my articles, I e-mail out at work for opinions and feedback. This article generated more controversy than any other I've written, including the one on crunching.
Michael Vance pointed out that he couldn't imagine doing things any other way, and that I was basically attacking a straw man.
Tom Henderson, on the other hand, wants--not a rock star, necessarily, but a guy, or a small tightly knit team, in charge of vision, that cannot be overruled, that can get into any and all dishes and say, "This is the way it's going to be." And I'm fine with that: you could have a slot on the czar chart whose responsibility is vision, or you could have an org chart that's two layers deep: the one guy in charge and everyone else. I see the czar chart not as a replacement for the org chart but the chart you make visible and emphasize; the org chart is for emergencies. Also, the guy at the top isn't going to get his way by saying, "Look, see this chart? I'm on top. That means I get to say." He has to earn it, the way Tomo Moriwaki does on our team, by demonstrating his talent and knowledge and earning our respect and trust. Tom was in the military, by the way...so he may have a bias toward clear lines of authority.
Unless the guy at the top owns the company, of course, in which case he can do whatever the hell he wants, although earning authority will still be a more effective management technique than, "Do it or you're fired." (And if the guy at the top owns a single-team company - there's no reason for an org chart. Everyone knows who's at the top.)