I keep coming back to my post titled The Effectiveness Of Signs. It's one of my favorite posts on this blog. I like the way it blends design principles with an important aspect of leadership - namely, doing stuff.
Now, the topic of Leadership-with-a-capital-L generally turns me off (I blame John Maxwell's horrible books for that - and no I'm not linking to them). But this blog is titled Rogue Project Leader, so I guess I'm not completely against the topic.
Anyway, several years ago I sat in the office of a very high ranking person. In the course of our conversation, he expressed his frustration over his inability to get the people who ostensibly worked for him to do what he asked them to do. I was part of a small bureaucratic spetsnaz team that he had put together for the purpose of undermining the Defenders Of The Status Quo who were ignoring his direction. That conversation, and his frustration, have haunted the back of my mind ever since.
Now, with the perspective of some years, I wonder if maybe he was a bit like the sign maker in my earlier post. His sign was clear and unambiguous... but still the trashcan was not where it was "supposed to be." It's not a perfect analogy - I'm not saying he posted his sign behind the door or was asking anyone to put the trashcan in an inconvenient place. But clearly there were divergent priorities and interests. And just like with the trashcan story, the power lay in the person who actually moved the can.