"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics

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The Bean Counter

The bean counter lives for details, to the point that details are split further into more details. Every single detail then gets painstakingly analyzed, often to find ways to change them. When those details are changed, they lead to more details, which leads to more analysis—and still more details and analysis. They can be relentless in their drive to change details (a never-ending cycle).

    Engineers at a company that manufactures refrigerators found a way to produce the doors faster, thus saving a few minutes per door. In a large operation, of course, those few minutes add up to big gains. They proudly presented their discovery to top management, but the financial director became quite upset with the report. As he saw it, these savings in one area led to a slowdown in another. It was a stoppage of less than a second, but the financial director saw it as a waste of time and money. Thus, instead of thanking the engineers for their cost-saving idea, he instead found fault with a relatively insignificant issue.

    Bean counters are hardly ever able to create a short, quick analysis of a situation. When they rise to the level of management, their need for more and more details becomes increasingly problematic, not to mention demoralizing to employees who are told their performance is never good enough.

Are you detail driven?

Or someone in the team?

Can it be changed?

Should it be changed?


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Three other Opinions:

  1. Chin
    21:43 on Saturday, March 8th, 2008
    Found your blog on yahoo - thanks for the article but i still don’t get it.
  2. A F
    08:35 on Sunday, March 9th, 2008
    I can not agree with you in 100% regarding some thoughts, but you got a good point of view…
  3. Frank Kanu
    08:47 on Sunday, March 9th, 2008
    Chin, A F,

    it would be helpful if you can describe more detailed what you don’t understand or do not agree with.

    Thank you.

One Ping & Trackback:

  1. 09:02 on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
    Frank Uncovers Excellence in Leadership » From Programmer to Manager
    [...] Programmer to Manager Can programmers really become good managers? Programmers act more like bean counters, just by the nature of things. Time really isn’t the number one priority. What matters most [...]

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