05 January 2010


I am firmly of the opinion that work is all about people, and all value comes from unleashing the creative talent of each person.

It doesn't matter whether you're the leader or the follower, the customer or the provider. Work is about how we relate to each other as human beings. It's not about money. It's not about efficiency. It's not about promotions and power. It's about encouraging and equipping people to do stuff that matters. This doesn't mean efficiency is bad. It just means efficiency isn't the most important thing. Taking care of people is the most important thing.

Accordingly, any approach to work that relegates "the human dimension" to a subordinate position (or refers to it as "the human dimension") is already off course. How we treat people, how we view people, must be absolutely central in the definition of an approach to work. All other topics are subordinate, and should return to the central idea of people as the source of meaning and value in work.

So, Rogue Project Leadership begins with building a small team of talented people... and recognizing them as such. They are not "human resources," they are people. They are uniquely talented. And the Rogue Project Leader's main job is to take care of these people and unleash their unique talent.

So things like listening, mentoring and encouraging are central activities of a leader. As the great Joe Wotton often said, "it's easier to direct energy than create it." Accordingly, the Rogue Leader strives to direct people's energy towards a common goal, and takes great pains to not extinguish or diminish people's energy and enthusiasm.

Rogue Project Leaders don't simply allow people to explore and play. They encourage it, because it is simultaneously good for the people and for the organization. There's no contradiction or tension here - doing the right thing for the people is not only good for the organization, it is why the organization exists in the first place. If the only way for the organization to persist is to treat people badly, then that organization doesn't need to exist any more (or it needs to reevaluate its goals, means and methods).

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