I’m sitting by the fire, looking up English monarchs after having watched The Lion in Winter. I don’t really agree with what the reviewers say the movie is about, but perhaps that’s the sign of a very good movie (or play). I think it’s about the impossibility of replicating greatness– true greatness is always a moment in time, and almost by its nature refuses replication. It’s a surprising leap, and I can’t think of anything much worse than being a child of greatness.
I’m spending a lot of time these days thinking about managing, and mentoring. Most of what I read is balderdash– setting people up for success, rewards, performance reviews, etc… formulas for something that is in its nature endlessly various. Humans. Is it a manger’s job to make it possible to be great, or can you not stop the great ones? The mediocre can probably be helped to be adequate, and potential can be coaxed into good– but the great? Don’t they seem to just appear out of no where, rocket past their peers and shine despite the environment? And as a manager all you can hope to do it hire them when you see them.
Then again, that can’t be true. At some point the great didn’t know what they were doing, or what they should be doing. Maybe if you are lucky you get to be the one to whisper to them their possibility. I don’t know. Thinking about it, as I said.
Maybe management and greatness have nothing to do with each other. Maybe the job is simply to staff adequately, meet goals and expectations. After all, to be great means to take a chance, and a chance means the potential for failure, and failure is worse than moderate success.
For me, a gamble is required. I’m always hoping that the daring will lead to a leap forward. This means failure will always be near. I hate failure. So this monday I’m moody, curled up by the fire, tending it, while Philippe works on his car. Puzzling and wondering where I can get better advice than “who moved my cheese”