Clarity and Authority
Product development requires vision. […] [then, quoting Dorsey:] “You should expect Twitter to be as easy as looking out your window to see what’s happening. […]
But Twitter can’t just be the best window to the world; Twitter also has to be the most powerful microphone in the world.
Product development requires authority. Twitter has long been captive to its best users who rail against any change on the margins, much less even a rumor of changes to the core product; I suspect this hesitancy has been in large part driven by the fact that everyone in Twitter’s leadership was ultimately a hired gun. Dorsey, though, is a founder, and however controversial his first stint at the company may have been, there is no denying the authority this fact gives him when it comes to making changes.
These are powerful arguments for a founder-CEO. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why founders often have this clarity of vision (or in some cases, why they don’t). But it isn’t hard to see why they often have the authority with their own teams and their customers to effect change. If there’s a corollary to this, I think it is that founders need to cultivate that clarity and authority to effect change in others – to figure out how to pass the torch.
Think how Steve Jobs effectively created product authority in Jony Ive, and organizational authority in Tim Cook (splitting his own responsibilities accordingly). While others have great ideas for what Twitter can be, the user community probably has more faith in Dorsey to be the curator of those ideas.
So now it is time to turn this notion of clarity and authority to your efforts to improve your business through BPM. Do you have a clarity of vision? Do you have the authority to make change happen?
If you don’t have clarity of vision, now is the time to find it. Spend time offsite, write a page on what your vision is (or write as much as you can in 10 minutes). Pick the best idea from within that page and write another page about it. Then try to pick the best and most concise way to get the best idea from that second page across… Test it out with others.
If you don’t have the authority to effect change, have you tried yet? Are you waiting to get permission, or are you asking for forgiveness after taking action? Is there a key authority you need to pull into your orbit? Have you found lessons in your company’s history to connect to the present-day challenges and solutions?
These are solvable problems, but you can’t ignore them.