June 20, 2020

Jack in the box


A jack in the box isn’t very good at accountability. They hide themselves away, preparing for the day when they’ll spring into action, everyone trusting that they’ll work as specified and that the effect will be startling, at least to some. 

As managers, it can be tempting to trust in the jack in the box; the secretive expert who says, Trust me, I know what I’m doing. And when it works … without any effort on our part, without thought or planning or additional resources, they deliver … spectacular.

The problem is when it doesn’t work. When performance is below expectation, when there is no performance. Then there’s no accountability beyond binary. There was no agreed plan that we could track and watch for variance, there was no ability to influence. There’s nothing to account against.

And that goes for the person in the mirror.

Skippy strategy: Don’t trust the jack in the box.