Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quote of the Day: Mao Inspired W?

(((Sardonic Economist article on management lessons to take from Mao; helping bad managers stay at the top; getting away with having no idea what you're doing and driving a company/organization/country into the ground)))

Yeah, the article has its irritating aspects, but there is this sort of bizarre but interesting tone of genuine admiration that doesn't quite seem reducible to grudging respect for a ruthlessly efficient dictator, which is about all one would expect from the Economist. Curious. But maybe I'm misreading it. In any case, there's this gem, which remains a gem whether one likes talking about Mao this way or not . . .

Perhaps for the struggling executive, this is the single most important lesson: if you can't do anything right, do a lot. The more you have going on, the longer it will take for its disastrous consequences to become clear. And think very big: for all his flaws, Mao was inspiring.

Mission accomplished!

I loved the punchline to the first part of the same paragraph even better, but I can't be the least bit ironic about it:

Under Mao, China didn't drift, it careened. The propellant came from the top. Policies were poor, execution dreadful and leadership misdirected, but each initiative seemed to create a centripetal force, as everyone looked toward Beijing to see how to march forward (or avoid being trampled). The business equivalent of this is restructuring, the broader the better.

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