Inside Pixar’s Leadership by Evan Troxel

Ed Catmull on a managers self-destructive tendencies for creative work:

The notion that you’re trying to control the process and prevent error screws things up. We all know the saying it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. And everyone knows that, but I think there is a corollary: if everyone is trying to prevent error, it screws things up. It’s better to fix problems than to prevent them. And the natural tendency for managers is to try and prevent error and over-plan things.

This is a great article full of excellent points. As I was taught by one of my mentors, a manager's job is to get out of the way and trust the people they've hired to do their best by allowing them to use their skills.  With this approach, the sky's the limit, and Pixar has proven that time and time again.


✱ A Leader's Job - Launching Project Undercurrent by Evan Troxel

This article originally started out as a short blog entry where I was going to simply vent about leadership because I have been reading some absolutely great things on the topic lately, but not seeing much of it in action. My mind was churning while writing and it turned into something much larger. Since the beginning of the year I've been reaching out to many others in the industry to get their take. There are many parallel conversations going on. Thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head came together into one coherent article after having those conversations. It's funny how that happens sometimes. 

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Link: How and Why to Be a Leader (Not a Wannabe) by Evan Troxel

Umair Haque (Twitter link) at the Harvard Business Review blog:

Wannabes are something like metric-maximizing robots. Given a set of numbers they must "hit," they beaver away trying to hit them. The leader knows their job is very different: not merely to maximize existing metrics, which are often part of the problem (hi, GDP, shareholder value), but to reimagine them. The leader's job is, fundamentally, not merely to "hit a target" — but to redesign the playing field. It's architecture, not mere archery. If you're hitting a target, you're not a leader. You're just another performer, in an increasingly meaningless game.

This is the best writing I have read all year on the differences between what leadership and management truly are. I highly recommend reading this short article.

We need a new generation of leaders. And we need it now.

Enough said!