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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Leadership, Management, Governance

Leadership for change

Management for effectiveness

Governance for stability

It is way too easy to become confused where these three functions are concerned. We like to think of ourselves as leaders when what actually consumes our time and attention is hitting deadlines and deliverables. Leaders emerge when change is in the air.

When the marketplace is shifting; when the economy is deteriorating and taking our profitability down with it; when we're no longer able to keep up--that's when leadership is required and leaders step forward. Anyone can steer a straight course through calm seas with good charts. It takes a master to sense the environmental factors, inspire confidence among the crew and make the continuous changes required to keep the ship from breaking up or running aground until things settle down and we get back into familiar waters. We risk disaster when leadership isn't acknowledged and permitted to assume control. When the crisis is over, we often find that the leader has little or no interest in the day-to-day operations of work rosters, schedules, performance reviews... The leader may make a very poor manager.

The manager is the master of routine. She is the one who keeps the machinery humming and the product going out the door. He makes sure that time boxes are hit, that deliverables are delivered and that budgets are created and followed. When the winds of change begin to blow, the manager who fails to recognize the need for leadership or believes in error that he can handle the leadership role can cause massive and sometimes irrecoverable damage before she agrees to [temporarily] relinquish the helm. Exceptional management defines the team, builds the team and keeps the team vision alive. This management is essential.

Governance is ubiquitous and invisible. Governance is observing, analyzing, formalizing, monitoring, measuring, improving. Governance establishes the standards to which managers hold themselves, each other and their teams accountable. It should be readily apparent that governance is every bit as necessary within a high-performance organization as is management. An exceptional governance function is a combination of historian, engineer and seer. A liberal dose of management is required to insure that governance doesn't degenerate into approval by the de facto expert.

The six sigma governance function will have incorporated leadership into the system of standards. A set of standards and standard processes may be of little use to the leader in the midst of the storm but may have helped to prepare that leader to be able to step forward.

Leadership for change, management for effectiveness, governance for stability is the tag line of WhiteLake Data Management. Data Management will be a microcosm of the enterprise as a whole. Every point of view (perspective) within the enterprise will be represented in Data Management. Virtually every process within the enterprise will be examined by Data Management in an attempt to "get it right." The risk associated with unreliable information (data) can only be assessed in light of the process(es)--and the personalities-- involved. Data Management is not governance but must include governance as an essential component. As its name implies, management is its bread and butter. Because it is frequently considered the homely step child, however, the availability of leadership may well be the key to its success.