9.18.2005

TIP: The Yin and Yang of Managing

One day there were flood warnings out in this small town and the sheriff went around telling everyone to get to higher ground before the river overflowed its banks. One man heard the sheriff riding by his house with the warning coming over a loudspeaker and said to him: "I'm going to be okay here. I put my faith in the Lord."

The next day the town was flooded and the water had reached the second floor of the man's house. A rescuer came by in a boat and said to him: "Come on. Get in the boat. The water's going to go higher." The man refused saying: "I'm staying here. I'll be all right. I put my faith in the Lord. He'll save me." The third day the water was still rising and the man was on his roof. A rescue helicopter came by and saw the man and the pilot shouted down. I'll drop a rope so you can pull yourself up." "Don't bother," said the man, "I'll be fine. The Lord will take care of me." A little while later the man drowned.

He walked up to the pearly gates of heaven and he was angry. When he saw St. Peter he said: " What happened? I put my trust in the Lord to save me, and I drowned!" St Peter said to him: "We sent you the sheriff, a boat and a helicopter. How come you refused all three?"

In the man's mind, he either took the advice of the rescuers, OR he trusted in the Lord, to use his terms. He resisted because he saw no way to connect the two. If you've been around the barn a few times, you should be familiar with the sitiuation

  • As a manager, I need centralized coordination and decentralized initiatives.
  • How do I support team development and reward individual achievement?
  • As a system architect, how do I balance between stability and change?
  • How do I reduce our headcount while improving quality?
  • Can I be stubborn and flexible at the same time? Analytical and intuitive? Careful and audacious? Playful and determined?

None of the above can be best solved by choosing one over the other, as both conflicting points of view are true. The on-going, natural tension between them can be destructive, but when properly managed, they can be channeled into a creative synergy that leads to superior outcomes. aka. one man's meat is another man's poison.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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