Sunday, December 06, 2009

948 : Working for a “rock star” manager/leader

This one continues from my previous post on this topic.

Ever notice how invariably the “clean guy” in the wormhole (clean guy refers to one who is relatively away from the scumbag screwball politics….) is usually also the “rock star” manager.

My observation around this is, the “rock star” kind of knows he is so talented/good that he does not have to “compensate” for any of his (absent) deficiencies, unlike the others.

My other observation is, usually the clean rock star is usually outweighed at a ratio of 1:10 (one clean guy for 10 other scumbags), and this rises exponentially as we make our way to the top, probably literally reaching 1 in a million kind of numbers.

Usually us lumpen (you and me that is) take what the 10 are doing to be the actual game, rather than focusing on the 1, and hence a culture of mediocrity creeps in.

In that one freak case, where the rock star somehow lands up at the top job – you have a world killer – examples….dont look too far – Steve Jobs’ Apple, erstwhile Jack Welch’s GE, Bill Gates’ Microsoft,  Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and not to forget Berkshire Hathaway with Mr. Buffet.

Conversely, its not always true, that clean leaders build world killers….you also have to be a “rock star”…..Ratan Tata, NR Narayanmurthy’s Infosys….are both clean, but not rock stars. (for example, my current manager is an extremely clean guy, but would struggle to classify him as a “rock star” clean guy). Also, its not always that all “rock stars” are clean.

Lastly, some organizations can be killers even without the rock stars….example Google or Yahoo (which was a killer till recently).

The key message for me myself continues to be – hunt out that “rock star” who is clean – and try and latch onto him/her – and next step – become a rock star yourself. (You want to be incentivized….well, even clean rock star can enjoy groupies…nothing wrong with that :-)))

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