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The Ineffective Executive
No executives were harmed during the writing of this post…
Hey! I’m your executive!
I’m so excited we were able to get this group together. Making sure this team is doing what I told them to do is my #1 priority.
Why did it take so long to schedule? Well, we had to plan around my calendar. And of course, I have many other priorities.
When did I say this was my #1 priority? Let’s not lose focus. The first step to any real work is a big kickoff meeting.
You guys have already been meeting regularly without me? Not sure who authorized that….no one checked with me.
I haven’t heard that before….”self organizing teams”…sounds dangerous. Let’s not make a habit of it. Now, let’s talk get to the agenda.
We don’t have an agenda? Hmm, how am I going to fill 90 minutes. Well, at least we’re meeting virtually.
Oh, you guys were told to come to the office. Hmm, yeah, it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t be there in person - I have a personal commitment in 30 minutes. It is a Saturday evening after all….
You want to use the time to do Q&A? Not sure how you expect me to do that without prep - you might ask me anything.
AMA. OK, let’s stop using the TLAs. I thought I was clear in my email that acronyms were banned, along with work that doesn’t move the metric.
What metric? Obviously, THE metric. REVENUE! That’s what everyone on this team should be worrying about increasing.
You’re a product team? Not sure that’s a good excuse. Build a product we can sell. That’s your goal.
You have multiple goals? How did that happen? Who started adding goals?
ME? You must have misunderstood me. Next time you don’t understand what I’m telling you to do, just come ask me!
How am I difficult to schedule? I’m here right now, aren’t I? Ask me anything…
Ok, if I’m understanding your question, you’re asking if it’s more important for the team to do A or B? Obviously, both have to be done. Why on earth would you try to force such a trade-off?
What do you mean you don’t have enough staff to do both? Look at how many people are in this room! It’s like 2 full teams…
This IS 2 full teams? Who were just re-org-ed together? And you don’t know how to reconcile your backlogs? Look, you’re over-complicating this. When you don’t understand what I’m telling you to do, don’t come ask me - ask your manager!
When did I say come ask me? I’m trying to delegate here. That’s why you have a manager…
You don’t have a manager? Huh. Ok, I’m going to make hiring a manager my #1 priority.
My list of priorities? Not sure why you’d need to see that. Plus, it changes daily…
Why does it change so frequently? Well, in order for me to explain, I’d have to provide you with a bunch of business context…so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You want to better understand the strategy? OK, it’s simple: REVENUE! Generate it.
How do we decide which revenue-generating ideas make sense for us? Whatever makes the most revenue, that’s how. It’s like basketball - 3 points is better than 2 points. Every time.
Field goal percentage? Player efficiency rating? Adjusted plus minus? You can’t get caught up in a bunch of advanced metrics. It’s not like anyone in the NBA has a dashboard tracking all that. Stop bringing up irrelevant analogies.
No, I don’t think I was the one that brought up basketball. I never use sports analogies. Now, let’s keep our eye on the ball…we don’t need to worry about building metrics dashboards.
We already built a metrics dashboard? Who asked you to waste time creating that?
ME? And I said it was the most important thing? Huh. Well, hopefully the team didn’t spend too much time on it.
Oh, you’ve spent the entire quarter on it. And that’s why you can only do A or B, and not both, at this point?
You guys need to do a better job prioritizing. I’m going to have to have a 1:1 with your manager about this as soon as he’s hired.
What do you mean “or she”?
Oh, yes. Yes, of course we might hire a female. Don’t let my choice of language confuse you. I don’t have any biases. I did the training!
DEI? Again with the acronyms. And I know what the last manager of the team said when she left, but I don’t see how that has anything to do with attrition.
Where are you going? Why is everyone dropping off the call?
Hey! I’m your executive!
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further reading / references
The title of this post is a play on my favorite Peter Drucker book
If you enjoyed the narrative style of this post, check out Savior Syndrome
childish drawing / interpretation