One, they must build psychological safety to spur learning and avoid preventable failures; two, they must set high standards and inspire and enable people to reach them.

Leaders in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, who understand that today’s work requires continuous learning to figure out when and how to change course, must consciously reframe how they think, from the default frames that we all bring to work unconsciously to a more productive reframe. Framing the work is not something that leaders do once, and then it’s done. Frequently calling attention to levels of uncertainty or interdependence helps people remember that they must be alert and candid to perform well.

It’s a bit counterintuitive but I think it’s a good point that all the efforts to more and better coordination are harmful. We should have less coordination which will inevitably lead to more work between teams, but that is work you should be doing anyway. I think teams are in general very heavily underfacilitated.

When we change the system later, strong boundaries make those changes faster. Deep coordination makes those changes harder: the tight coupling still exists but the armies have moved on, the armies of project managers who heroically held together that initial release.

I feel this list by Dan Na of what it means to switch to the management track and this point in particular is more or less what my days consist of (intensity, attention, feeling): “Management forces you to care more about everything.”

I am the ultimate person who has to care, who has to pay attention and who has to bring the intensity to drive things forward.

I think this is a leveling definition that I can live with: “Managers are paid to drive results with some support. Directors are paid to drive results with little or no supervision (‘set and forget’). VPs are paid to make the plan.”

Or if I would paraphrase this: Directors are barrels (not bullets). VPs need to create the circumstances where you are ‘certain to win’.