Scott Adams on Managment


SCOTT ADAMS: My most basic belief about management is that it’s people flailing around, hoping that something lucky happens external to them that makes them look as if they did a great job. And all of my experiences of that type, which is if you looked at the things that failed, objectively, they weren’t worse ideas than the things that worked. And there was nothing about the execution, especially, that was the make or break, it was almost always the timing, the luck, the lightning struck.

And so I always manage my career to do enough things that if there’s enough lightning and I’m doing enough things, my odds of getting lucky are pretty good. And that’s my basic view of most management. You know, Eric Schmidt is worth how many billions of dollars because he hooked up with the Google guys and went to work every day. Maybe he’s the best manager in the world, but he kind of was a little bit lucky that he got that job.


DAN MCGINN: So you’re saying management really doesn’t matter?

SCOTT ADAMS: I think it’s certainly something you can do wrong. So avoiding doing it wrong is the big thing. And I think if you’re a bit of a psychopath or sociopath, I don’t know the exact definitions of those, you know, if you push people to think that you being happier, and you as the manager making more money, and you as the company making more money is more important than the employees’ own personal life and their health, then you’re a great manager. And you absolutely can do great things. And you’ll probably be able to reproduce that wherever you go.

So there’s a certain amount of evil that’s built into the system. It’s a creative evil. I mean, I’m very pro capitalism, because I don’t have a better idea that obviously works. But you’ve got to embrace that evil a little bit and you’ve got to understand that that’s part of the process, and that’s always been a problem for me.


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