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Mickey Edwards
Political leader

Mickey Edwards

Former U.S. Congressman, Mickey Edwards is vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs the Institute's Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.

Beat it down to size

Q: This week's Washington Post investigative series on the government's burgeoning intelligence network prompts the question: Can an organization get so big and so complex that it just can't be managed effectively? Or is "too-big-to-manage" just a cop-out for flawed structure and lack of leadership?

While it may sometimes seem as though organizations take on a life of their own -- spawning spinoffs, manufacturing redundancies, building layers and walls that are permeable when they shouldn't be and impermeable when flow is required, all of it a spawn of HAL, the malevolent computer -- the truth is somewhat more pedestrian: When that happens, management's focus is too narrow.

Managing an organization's structure to ensure that it functions properly is no less a managerial imperative than the ability to imagine a sleeker hood ornament or a stickier tape. Creativity is great fun but real managing requires a lot of i-dotting and t-crossing. In building an organization, sometimes an axe is important a tool as glue.

By Mickey Edwards

 |  July 19, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Category:  Government leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Oldatlantic,

In this case, it doesn't matter. Edwards didn't say anything anyway.

Posted by: cmecyclist | July 20, 2010 6:03 AM
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WaPo hides its own blogs on its own big report. Is it any wonder the intelligence community is worse off. I had to do a search to find this. Evidently its well hidden.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | July 19, 2010 1:57 PM
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