[Osmf-talk] Enough is enough: disinfecting OSM from poisonous people

Oliver Kühn oliver.kuehn at skobbler.com
Wed Aug 11 07:37:52 UTC 2010

 Philip Shipley wrote:
> I feel that the project is drifting rudderless and captainless.  I
> have a natural aversion to authority figures dictating the path
> forward, however I think that sometimes nasty medicine must be taken
> in order to get better.  Provided that there is a mechanism to remove
> the captain then it is a perfectly reasonable way to resolve the
> situation and set the project back onto the right track.  
> I see the role more of a Prime Minister rather than a Dictator, a
> subtle but important difference.  Consequently there needs to be a
> mechanism to anoint and remove the 'leader' in order to instil
> legitimacy to the role.  Self anointing does not cut it for me, and I
> suspect the greater community.  
It is a typical organizational "growth problem". There is a very nice
article from Larry E. Greiner that shows the six phases of a healthy
growing organization from birth to dead [1]. At the end of each phase a
change of leadership style is required to cope with the next growth
phase. Although the model is stated for corporate organizations, many
aspects remain valid for any kind of organization.

Phase one is described as

"The   founders   are   usually technically or entrepreneurially
oriented, and they disdain management activities; their physical and
mental energies are absorbed entirely in making and selling a new
product." and  "Communication is frequent and informal."
The crists occurs when the increased number of people cannot  be managed
exclusively through informal communication and an intense dedication  
to the product or organization.

"Thus the founders find themselves burdened with unwanted management
responsibilities. So they long for the "good old days"' still trying to
act as they did in the past."

It is said that organizations overcome the problems and enter into the
next phase by "directive leadership".

I therefore fully support Philip's conclusion of the introduction of a
"Prime Minister".


[1] http://www.ils.unc.edu/daniel/131/cco4/Greiner.pdf
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