Quote: Tolerating Initiative
A quote presented at Scott Berkun’s presentation last week, which I copied down. Apparently I wasn’t the only person in attendance who dug the quote:
As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.
Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs.
Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And its essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow.
William McKnight, 3M Chairman, 1948
One thing I have enjoyed about working for smaller companies in the Silicon Valley is the degree to which employees must be trusted to take the initiative. This can mean a lot of hard work, of course. But it also allows one to exercise the passion that they feel for their work.