Quote from "Getting the Right Things Done"


So after getting such strong recommendations about the book from Norman Bodek and, then today, from Dwight Bowen, I finally started reading “Getting the Right Things Done” by Pascal Dennis.

A line in the introduction struck me:

“Strategy deployment is the antithesis to ‘command and control,' still our predominant mental model and the reason the cartoon Dilbert is so popular. Command and control can suck the zest and meaning out of work…. ‘Very strange,' my sensei once said, ‘In North America you manage business the way the Soviets managed their economy.”

That reminded me of a thought I also had a long time ago and a blog post from a while back about the Soviet nature of many businesses. It also makes me think of a book I've wanted to read for a while, Freedom from Command & Control: Rethinking Management for Lean Service.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Very provocative posting.
    It seems to me that in the “old days,” in fact strategy deployment was done through command and control. No longer.
    The difference is not in the deployment of strategy, but in the fact that a “leader” doesn’t have direct authority over all the people and tasks that need to be aligned to get things done.
    The new vertical is horizontal; the new “company” extends well outside the bounds of the corporate walls. When Jack Welch talked about “boundarylessness,” his concept stopped at the W-2 form.
    The new “boundarylessness” extends into some nexus, common interests of a bunch of organizations. To get strategies implemented today, you have to draw on all that.
    Which is why implementation isn’t command and control anymore, leadership isn’t vertical anymore.
    And why, frankly, what Scott Adams so brilliantly satirizes is a dinosaur concept. Still plenty of dinosaurs out there, but they’re a dying breed.


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