Leda Writes for Fintech Futures: Fabled kings, indecision and cows

Dr Leda Glyptis 11:FS Foundry CEO
5min read

Every Thursday, Leda Glyptis, 11:FS Chief of Staff creates #LedaWrites. This week she turns her attention to fabled kings, indecision and cows.

I enjoyed having my first managerial responsibilities. Exposure and visibility. A real chance to show what I was made of. To the people above who were making the real decisions. But as busy people, they didn’t always have time for me. Which made approaching them for approvals a daunting process.

In middle management I believed that great things were being done, somewhere. Even if I wasn’t involved, decisions were being made.

Then one day an opportunity dropped onto my desk, low risk, high visibility; low cost, high innovation value. With a kick-ass partner ready to roll and taking all the risk themselves. All we had to do was do a thing that was the sort of thing we did for a living every day.

I agonised over the email that would ask executive management for approval to proceed. Sent it. Nothing. Then sent a chaser. Nothing.

Then I got offered a place on a trip with the exco, a bus tour around Silicon Valley. Them up front and by some luck I was in the back. And at some point, I got the stakeholders I needed in one place and I asked, about my email on the thing. I saw sadness and terror unfold before my very eyes. The three most powerful people in the company were chasing their tails about who was equipped and empowered to make the decision for a thing like this that had no direct precedent.

My trip ended without an answer. The mighty made no decisions, they took a little poison each day instead to keep their power. Engage with the thing to avoid fallout from the thing even if that means avoiding the thing.

They weren’t busy making decisions, they were busy playing the executive teams game to stay executive. They didn’t even have the moment of stark realisation that the kingdom they are meant to run is vast. It even contains cows. That some of the domains and places it reaches to are too far away from the panelled rooms they sit in.

Govern well, do little, break nothing, retire. These were good people I am talking about, good at their jobs.

They made money, generated shareholder value, retained jobs, secured growth, handed the company to the next generation of executives in largely the same shape and overall better state than they inherited it. That is success for big corporates. But it’s poison for growth.

Read the whole story at Fintech Futures.