1. I'm playing chess; senior management is playing checkers. No, not because I'm some sort of genius and they are simpletons, but rather they talk about interchangeable "resource units" and I know these FTE's as "Tom" and "Amy", each with specific strenghts and weaker areas. Big strategic plans cannot differentiate but we front-line managers need to figure out how to position and leverage individuals.
2. Actually, genuinely, caring about your direct reports goes a very long way towards solving a lot of culture problems but...
3. Dev Managers need to put a lot of effort out into their teams to drive change and it is often (most of the time?) not returned. Your biggest enemy is not active sabotage, it's apathy at all levels of the organization. I started pushing for some specific cultural-ish changes about this time last year and, while I was given passive approval & support and lots of latitude to make change, it has been physically exhausting. If I was in an organization that didn't even give me this much freedom it would have been exhausting and pointless.
4. A Dev Manager can make localized changes when not all teams want or can reciprocate, but I'm not convinced yet that the requisite firewalls you need to erect aren't ultimately harmful in the long run. It is a very delicate balance.
In the end my take-away is you need space and time to make any meaningful change, and even that is limited by the crushing inertia of the organization. For me personally it has been physically consuming and I have 6 month & 1 year goals, plus an overall 3-year plan that I'll either complete in the coming year or look for an new opportunity elsewhere.
If you want a better analogy that doesn't belittle senior leadership, try Go instead of Checkers.
One of the keys to successful management and leadership is understanding sustainability. Incremental changes over a period of time beat a huge lift followed by burnout and stasis.
Sustainability is the domain of entrenched/ossified/bureaucratic middle managers, moderating or outright sabotaging whatever BS senior leadership is excited about this month.
I think you are severely discounting the skills it takes to lead people, and you are also making an extremely optimistic assumption that companies in the future somehow would be magically more meritocratic than existing companies, when there's no evidence of the sort. On the contrary, people with great interpersonal skills will continue to advance off of the labour of the people with only great technical skill.
Your glorious engineer's revolution will probably not come to pass if history is any indication.
Somehow, the managerial class and the investor class insert themselves between the fruits of the labour and the engineers performing said labour. And if you think that's suddenly going to stop because the nature of the labour changes, then I think you're mistaken.
Enterprise structures rewards rent-seekers, because they are built by, and controlled by rent-seekers, utilizing disposable labour. The only way a power structure like that can be flipped, is through revolution. Or by forming your own company, out-competing these enterprises.
Every QA person I've worked with that is still in the industry has moved on to almost pure test automation. A few years ago that was more like 30% of the role. Now I rarely do almost any manually testing, except for exploratory purposes and to design the test plan. Also for certain things that don't automate well. These days I do more pure development than I have at any other point in my career. It's been super fun, but still quite a change. I've seen colleagues that were more the business analyst flavor of QA get pushed out of the industry when they couldn't/wouldn't adapt.
> If leading people is so goddamn easy compared to software engineering, why do so few engineers want to move into people leadership,
a) because they wouldn't enjoy it as much as their current job?
b) because for engineers, being a manager does not give them status amongst their peer group.
> and why do so many of them absolutely suck at it?
a) citation needed. Is it provable that engineers are particularly worse at leadership than the rest of the population per capita?
b) if engineers tend to suck at being managers, it doesn't show that managerial roles are harder than engineering ones. How good are managers at attempting engineering roles, for comparison?
I am so reminded of Brave New World...
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki...I'm so glad I'm a Beta"
One additional bullet point I would add: Hiring.
If an isolated HR unit controls hiring and freezes the hiring managers and team out of the process, or effectively alienates them, you're wasting a huge amount of energy.
This is part of the methodology I try to weave into my organizations:
- A thoughtful and literate job posting, purged of gratuitous jargon, will accurately describe the job and foreshadow the company culture.
- Candidates will be evaluated using a simple quantitative assessment of core competencies (see Ch. 21 of Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow).
- Final decision will be a collective decision of the hiring team.
- After hiring cycle is complete, hiring team will hold a retrospective.
- We will acknowledge mistakes and work to correct them quickly and humanely.
I've tried implementing that with a coding take-home task, with "mixed results".
On-paper great candidates often refused.
On-paper good candidates made mistakes because they completed it very quickly, while mediocre candidates invested x10 the time and produced "better objective result".
Comparing code turned out to be much less straightforward or objective than I've anticipated: X handed great consistent well-commented code, but didn't null check inputs, Y covered all cases but left internal class implementation details public, and so on and so forth.
I posit it's still the least bad way to evaluate a candidate. If a 'mediocre' candidate is able to complete the task well, they have still completed the task well.
And, IME, 'great' candidates, even with a storied resumes, can simply be good at self-advancement and job application as much as actual competent at their job.
I don't care how someone looks on paper. Nor should you. Your process should optimize for people who are good at the job. You can look at all the negatives and try and guess "maybe that was a false negative!"...but who cares? What's your rate of true/false positives? That's the only data point you have; optimize for that.
I go so far as to say I think Hanlon needs a new razor. Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by apathy.
I think there are really, really good things in these kinds of books, especially if you identify with the problem and hero. At the same time, having gone through a bunch, there's a tendency for them to be like self-help or diet books: lots of great feelings while you're consuming them, energetic talking about the ideas with your friends, then a slow die-off until the next book.
Years ago I started collecting news articles and bits of information on culture. (IT culture). It's a fascinating topic because it intersects hype and measurable reality. Unlike a self-help book that promises "Be a happier you in 3 weeks!", your job is something that either gets better or doesn't.
For what it's worth, my best choice so far is "The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups" I read this book and thought "That son of a bitch! He's stolen all of my research material!" There is a bunch of anecdotes, stories, and research in there. I am still thinking over many of the ideas in the book I hadn't considered before.
This is important stuff. If it's something you're concerned about, don't give up. Read as much as you can. Just step back a bit from the hype cycle as you do so.
I'm curious if you think that it's actually possible for a book (or perhaps more generally, a school of thought) to actually break out of the cycle, or whether it's just the natural order of these sorts of things.
What I mean is, maybe what we get from these sorts of "self-help" pieces of literature/philosophies/whatever is less like a mantra that's one and done, and more like food satisfying a nutritional need, and just as you can't expect to eat a perfect meal and never be hungry for the rest of your life; when you get hungry again, you just need to find the next thing to eat.
I ask because I've gone through a number of these sorts of cycles in my own personal development over the last decade or so, and I'm finding that success tends to lie in seeing things in the latter light.
These are unsolved problems, that's why the material keeps getting produced. I think if you can find inspiration or a good "nutritional meal" to last for a while, it's a good thing. If nothing else, it serves to motivate. That's a big plus.
I'm pretty dense and hard-headed, so I have the hand-grenade theory of teaching myself: I just keep lobbing book-after-book into my own ignorance over time until I make progress. The vast majority of my attacks on my own personal ignorance are ineffective in the long run, but you know what? Little pieces here and there tend to stick. Maybe nobody's said it before or maybe it just takes the right author in the right context to get to me. I suspect the latter. After enough pieces stick, I can start actually working the problem of making myself better.
People who want to help in areas like this (unsolved domains) will BS one another in a heartbeat. I suspect that it's all so contextual to each of us we're just not aware of what we're doing. I don't know. But it means that personal recommendations of material should make you wary, especially if they come with heavily-laden emotional terms. ("Fight the evil corporate management structure!" or something like that) Like an organist that rests on the pedals too much, you get a long ways with books like this by making them emotional. Once again, motivation is great. If that's all you get, that's still a win for many.
So now we get to the heart of it. The real problem is coming up with evaluation criteria. Everything is great until there's a feedback loop and a way to fail, so your long-term job in trying to learn is setting up faster feedback loops and clear criteria to indicate success or failure. From there you can begin sorting out the "good" parts of the material from the fluff.
But that's just me. Until I had a good, solid way of evaluating whether something failed, a criteria that could point me to consuming smarter the next time, I was just going meal-to-meal.
Every book gives advice, every advice is an answer to a question. Ignore the answer, but scrutinize the question.
For example: "embrace remote work, go remote-first even!" says one book, "face-to-face is the only thing that works in the face of inevitable confusion and complexity" says another. Not helpful, right? However, consider that the first author got good result with remote work, and the second one got great results in-office. The two may have had different circumstances which they fail to describe for the reason you're describing the air you are breathing - being very immersed in something makes that something invisible. So a question to ponder then: under what circumstances is remote work possible, and if/how can one modify those circumstances?
Scrutinizing the question is a lot more work than getting excited with the first answer that came your way, but it's that much more likely to yield applicable result on top of a bout of enthusiasm.
Also, thanks for [The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups] suggestion.
Yes, it does boil down to questions. However questions drive out language, so simply saying that "scrutinizing the question" is the real work is both true and incomplete.
It is an important point, though. Thank you.
It may or may not, naturally.
> questions drive out language
What do you mean by this?
Is it possible to downvote a submission? I thought you could only upvote and flag?
Super down voting is something only mods can do (maintains the story, but it gets nuked off the site index)
Also, I was referring to a super upvote, not a downvote, sorry if this was unclear. I’m pretty sure this is a thing, I have it mentioned by an extremely high karma HNer.
You cannot fix people who don't admit that they are broken.
As someone who has been called into broken projects often, I've had this conversation often. If you "help" a project that is floundering, it will just continue floundering, wasting money and time. You have to wait until it's completely broken and an admitted crisis, and you can ask, "Would you like me to take it over?" and not have interference.
I've never had to artificially create a problem, though. That sounds like agent provocateur stuff.
The archeology of IT systems is part of what I liked about supporting legacy systems.
"Turn the ship around" is unique that it shows the problems with the author's approach- how it failed at first, how he had to work around it, how he tweaked the approach.
A very honest, no BS book. Highly recommended
Instead you might want to check out "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts" where he focuses specifically on the time when he turned around the worst fighting battalion in Vietnam.
I understand that culture counts for a lot, but modern organisational cultures are getting complaints that "leadership" is not going to solve at scale.
Maybe motivation/attitudes can be improved and a naval hierarchy can work better, but this is not the typical issue in corporate culture.
I'm curious about structural answers. A lot of culture comes down to how success and failure work. If a company culture is bad at risk-taking and internal entrepreneurship, a "culture of openness" can't fix it.
To get genuinely failure tolerant and opportunity seeking, organisations need to structure for successes and failures.
How are resources really allocated in the company? How are successes and failures really determined and what are the real ramifications.
So... (a) organisations need some formal/mechanical processes governing the pertinent decisions: resources and goals. Formal processes can be examined more honestly and biased to (or against) risk.
(b) If you really opportunity-seeking, risk taking culture... then you need "money-where-mouth-is" mechanics. It doesn't need to be fully "market-based," but someone needs to be throwing themselves behind opportunities because they think that they'll be successful.
The problem that runs through both Google (eg) and the naval ship is a culture of "do enough, and no more." The solution is usually to raise the "enough" bar somehow... motivation, discipline. That works when what you want from employ/organisations is "enough."
If you want more than enough, I think the structure needs to change.
I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with you - on the one hand, this statement seems wrong, but on the other hand, everything else you said makes a ton of sense to me.
Everyone seems so caught up by culture these days that they forget the other big part of the leadership battle: process. Nobody on HN likes to hear it. It's unsexy, and, to a creative type (like a designer, PM, or, to some extent, SW engineer), threatening.
At the end of the day, though, people don't scale. Processes do. I believe good leadership has a lot to do with setting up good processes.
Edit: maybe I'm wrong, but tons of companies humbleblog on HN about their brilliant cultures. Very few of them open the kimono on their processes. Largely, I think, because those are what really make their businesses money.
Small companies tend to have everyone working on the same thing. You might have a marketer, a couple engineers, etc, but they all care about the same thing.
As you grow, you silo. You have a marketing department, and an engineering department. There starts being disconnects between each group; engineers don't know what marketers are doing, marketers don't know what engineers are doing.
As you get bigger still, you silo the silos. Now you have your client dev teams, maybe a couple backend dev teams, various marketing teams, some data analysis/engineering teams, etc. To get a change through, now, you have to get disparate teams, all with different criteria for success, pulling in the same direction.
A lot of the time companies notice that better culture helps. It surely does. If I care about the other teams, even for things whose success/failure does not impact me directly, it leads to better results.
But the core problem is one of process. It's also one of the things that these companies trying to be 'agile' have clearly missed; rather than creating a 'self-organizing team' by taking one dev from the client team, one dev from each backend team, a marketer, a data guy, etc etc, and building a team out of them, that is responsible for a feature (and it can be a somewhat ephemeral team, it just needs to be one who is responsible for the success/failure of something, and can truly own it), they've instead created "self-organizing teams" inside each silo, and then are left with trying to chart a path for a feature across all of them via project managers or similar, and it's both incredibly slow, and incredibly painful.
For example, I had a situation where I had a story to write functional tests for a piece of our software. The story's scope had creeped (there turned out to be disagreement between different levels of leadership over what the tests should cover), but I had reached a point where I had implemented roughly 80% of the tests that we needed. I submitted a pull request for the progress that I had made so that it could be "locked in" and I could get it out of my mental overhead. However, the person who reviewed the PR refused to merge it because we apparently had a policy that each story could only have one PR. Ultimately, the overhead of trying to get everything in all at once resulted in the story not being successful.
Although maybe that example illustrates your point about the importance of process, because I had been asking for weeks for us to actually have sprint planning so that I could break up the story, but it kept getting canceled because people felt that they were too busy.
Ideally, you don't. The heart of a good process starts with asking up front: "Is this situation generic enough that we need a procedure for it?"
If yes, write process.
If no, handle as a one off.
I'm not sure how your example applies.
If people don't scale, why are we hoping for "leadership" to be at the heart of it. The whole idea behind "inspired leadership" is that it's a person, and they need to be really good.
I'm saying too things, rely on simple, honest structural procedures to drive cultural changes... not leaders.
A lot of leadership is cosmetic. I'm not discounting the importance of feelings and symbols to an organisation. Just focusing on symbols, attitudes and such though... it's nonsense.
If you're trying to solve problems like "innovation at big companies," you'll need to deal in real currency. The stuff of real incentive... cultural stuff, but also monetary stuff, power stuff, etc.
Am I in the minority thinking that “complexity is the cause of failure” may in fact be a useful and actionable statement? Start analyzing where complexity resides, cope with failures caused by inevitable complexity…
Of course, qualifying the sources of unnecessary complexity would be even more helpful, but even merely pointing it out may be more strategically useful than “X and Y caused an error”. (So you’ll fix X and Y; then Z will start causing trouble.)
It’s a tangent, I agree that “culture is broken” does seem like a useless statement.
I think the spirit of the original statement is exactly that: complexity is the cause of failure is an awful conclusion to reach.
What you're saying sounds like you think it's a good first intuition to start going deeper and reach more specific conclusions.
It's a question of how far you zoom in or out.
In the micro-level you can find the particular bug that causes failure, while on the macro-level it's still complexity that's causing failure (because it causes bugs like that to occur more frequently).
Culture can’t be broken, any more than complexity can be the cause of failure. Fucking get specific.
So you agree with its author.
Engineers are often taught to simplify and clarify, for great result.. but not all systems are actually decomposable that way .. some schools of business management too..
So a moving, non-trivial, not-reproducible system of systems cannot be considered 'broken' because.. there is no substitute for it to test a fix
On the other hand, "announce what you are about to do" is likely the best way to solve the problem.
It's refreshing to know this book exists and I'll certainly look it up but I have zero hope for so called corporate culture because it's lemmings all the way down and lead follow or get out of the way is blocked by some callous know it all opening their yawning pie hole to dish out googlisms
It doesn't mean you can do something outside of the corporate goals, and it doesn't mean you can just ignore some of the challenging parts of the job like delivering a working product to customers in a timely fashion.
Ugh, it makes me sick how true this is, and how much shit I take for refusing to go along with it.
Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by L. David Marquet
Also here's a great speech given by the David Marquet (with drawings!) on the same topic:
We’re humans, we cut corners. We all understand the intent.
Maybe it's just click bait; hard to imagine people think more about company culture than culture in general.
When a pitch answers a question that no one asked, it's a pretty good indication that something's wrong. Like when an employer says they're looking for "team players", it means they have an aggressive workplace with a lot of backstabbing. If a restaurant specifically advertised that it was clean, and had a sign saying "clean food and kitchen" in the window, would you eat there?
Also, exquisite irony serving up a "non-bullshit" book with the requisite amount of bullshit to make up for it. After all, the total amount of bullshit in the universe can never be reduced, only increased.
The hard thing about hard things, by Ben Horowitz
The Score Takes Care of Itself, Bill Walsh (49ers Coach)
Creativity, Inc, Ed Catmull (Ran Pixar)
To Pixar and Beyond, Lawrence Levy (CFO of Pixar with interesting different POV than Ed Catmull)
Otherwise for any dumpster fire of a subject I want a book on, I'll try to trace the "lineage" to see where the starting points were. The trash today won't be a thing 50 years from now. So, maybe look at books from 50 years ago or more.
I also liked both books by Ricardo Semler a lot (Maverick and Seven Days Weekend).
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life (Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert) also fits this description.
He was a little weird for a long time, but his divorce in 2014 kind of unmoored him.
If you had a link to that weird tweet I would like to see it; it would be interesting to see if I agree with your characterization.
Isn't that an odd thing to say, from a completely objective, dispassionate, and non-partisan perspective?
Perhaps it just seems obvious to me because I am familiar with the page on 538 where they track approval ratings in parallel with (I think) every other administration that was heavily polled.
Every other president has had their ups and downs, no matter how controversial or how partisan people were. But with this one, the percentages for and against seem practically set in stone at approximately the same ratio as the election. That seems to indicate he's convincing almost nobody who likes him or who dislikes him to change their minds.
I am sure that I am not the first person looking at the polarization of US politics and finding similarities to religion, and with religion it makes sense that the more conflict there is between religions, the more set in stone people's beliefs become. It is likely even a effective strategy for religious leaders in position of power to fuel that conflict in order to cement their followers' conviction even further.
We haven't been gradually moving towards this quasi-religious situation, as evidenced by past polling, which I linked to. It's just this administration.
So I think the evidence suggests that something about the current president is fundamentally different, maybe that he is for most people a symbol or placeholder and not a person.
Although, looking again at the polls from 2008-16, it might be that the current situation is something that happened gradually during that time period, and 2016 was not really a discontinuity.
Also, my point was it doesn't seem like he's changed people's minds. Being a religious leader may or may not mean you converted people.
If the electors for states he won had been persuaded to vote for the popular vote winner, that's what would have taken convincing.
That’s not what I meant. It was really just an analogy. I meant that Trump aimed to win the actual election as performed by the electoral college, not the popular vote, since the popular vote does not determine the election. Trump convinced the states that mattered, not the electors. In the same way, Scott Adams would have it, Trump is skilled at convincing people who matter to the issue currently at hand, not the popular opinion of all people in general.
That never occurred to me. I simply assumed that everyone thought that Trump won the election by somehow being different from the other candidates. I mean, an election is a competition; One would normally assume that a winner had something personally to do with actually winning, you know?
But now that you mention it, it’s clear why it indeed is very controversial to assume this; the popular explanation (in many circles, at least) instead assumes an incompetent Trump and/or external electoral influence, and anything which detracts from this view (including alternative explanations) would therefore obviously be controversial.
I’ll try to not make this unwarranted assumption in the future. It was only an analogy, anyway, and since I have no stake in whether or not Trump has personal qualities, I hope I’ll be able to refrain from ascribing such where not warranted.
Also, good point about the correctness of Adams’ explanation somewhat hinging on itself being successful.
There is also a view that he won because of luck. Not that he won the lottery against incredible odds, but that he had about a 1/3 chance of winning enough electoral votes on the eve of the election, and also his polling followed a cyclical pattern that happened to have just peaked a few days before.
It's hard to say what governed that cyclical pattern, but if it was skill at convincing people, it seems like it wouldn't have been cyclical. It would have gone up and stayed there.
If some unlikely event happens, one could assume that it was just a random occurrence, and leave it at that. But that is an assumption one could always make, for any event; “random chance” can explain anything. If, instead, one sets random chance aside for a moment and looks for reasons beside random chance, one could find other possible reasons for the event, and possibly learn something new. Of course, there’s always the possibility that it actually was random chance, in which case one risks seeing spurious non-related events as being causal, and thereby learning the wrong thing. But I think it’s a risk one will have to take in order not to always go “a wizard did it”, never learning anything.
I'm not sure of the connection between wizards, the null hypothesis, and random chance never being a component of an explanation.
You make me think of this:
The null hypothesis is, likewise, an assumption that nothing has happened; in this case, it would mean that no events have happened to cause the observed unlikely event (which, to be clear, did happen); i.e. it must have happened by random chance.
Yes, to ascribe causation to random chance could be the result of the Holmesian fallacy. But, of course, not necessarily.
I don’t know what you’re unsure about.
In the wake of a shooting (can't remember which) he tried to push his WhenHub product as a journalism tool.
And his fence-sitting support of Trump has always been "now I'm no Trump fan but here's a long list of things Trump is good at and I'll be very defensive about criticism".
I was a huge Dilbert fan, so watching his decline sucks.
Also the sockpuppet incident:
There's also the Affirmations thing - the guy believes in his own brand of The Secret, where writing something down over and over again and wanting it bad enough will magic the universe into making it happen.
The guy is kind of a mess. At this point he's his own worst enemy, PR wise.
> > It's not just the Trump thing. He loves to butt heads with the social justice types in a way that makes him look awful. Wrote some creepy antifemist blog-posts too.
That article, about a blog post of his, is a hit piece which takes the most inflammatory-sounding quote and displays it out of context. I think his explanatory post (https://www.scottadamssays.com/2011/03/27/im-a-what/), which includes the whole original blog post, explains everything quite clearly. Note that even the original blog post text includes a clarification that precisely the quoted inflammatory-sounding text does not mean what one might be tempted to believe if one were to read it out of context.
> > In the wake of a shooting (can't remember which) he tried to push his WhenHub product as a journalism tool.
It’s a free app, where people can declare that they have been witnesses to a newsworthy event, and journalists can use the app to find said witnesses and even talk to them using the app. What’s not to like? It’s like mentioning your gas-powered generators rental service during a widespread power outage. It might be slightly self-serving, but it’s useful information, and it’s not like he’s price gouging or taking any specific advantage of people’s misfortune. In fact, the very people who were impacted by the shooting can choose to earn money by setting an hourly price for journalists to interview them. Or they can set the price to zero if they just want to get the information out.
> > Like, Ive seen him in political flamewars on Twitter responding to criticism with pictures of his abs.
That tweet was a response to someone else’s tweet saying “this coming from the guy who thinks pop news nutrition is same thing as science.” – a picture displaying his health status was a perfectly relevant response (a mite adversarial, but this is Twitter) to something which, mind you, was an irrelevant off-topic ad-hominem personal attack. This is what you call “criticism”?
> Also the sockpuppet incident: https://www.salon.com/2011/04/19/scott_adams_sock_puppetry_s...
Yeah, OK, that one was weird.
> There's also the Affirmations thing - the guy believes in his own brand of The Secret, where writing something down over and over again and wanting it bad enough will magic the universe into making it happen.
What? No. Here’s a direct quote from that very link:
“At this point, allow me to correct a mistake I made the first time that I described my experience with affirmations. If you only hear the objective facts, it sounds as if I believe in some sort of voodoo or magic. That’s not the case. While I do think there is something wonderful and inexplicable about affirmations, I have no reason to conclude it is any more than a pleasant hallucination.”
Does Scott Adams cover this in his book or did he largely work solo?
As far as I know, Adams worked solo, and failed to gain any traction in any large organization, so if that’s what you want to have advice about, the Dilbert guy might not be the one to advise you about how to enjoy success in large organizations.
Ben Horowitz's new book "What You Do Is Who You Are" is also well written and quite entertaining. There's a good mix of personal experience, humour and history.
It starts with SEALs in Afghanistan, because of course it does, and then the author loosely strings together a bunch of unconvincing anecdotes to support his core idea.
The worst part is his constant reference to various hormones and fight or flight responses in a superficial way that would make even TEDx feel ashamed.
Edit: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the military can produce outstanding leaders. Humans have been battling for too long as not to have developed specialised training systems.
My gripe is with the book alone.
Obviously office work isn't the Army and you really shouldn't frame your work like a battle but generally. Everyone has a job, they are the one doing it so they are best to do it. Be professional, respectful and share a vision and you'll see people you lead follow you and mirror those traits. Your culture will start to reflect the environment you create.
It's interesting to compare the Taylor vs. Drucker view on management against the Bülow vs. Clausewitz view on war.
Ultimately I just couldn't finish the book because of the constant unrelated anecdotes.
Even more so for leadership within loose and/or voluntary organisations such as open source projects.
But it's definitely also pop.
When he finally gets to special causes vs. common causes, control charts etc. the book gets quite good.
Any business leadership book is likely to really be a management book.
Only communicating through superiors...Micromanaging at its best, it was an all-out terrible way of doing things.
I skimmed through a bit of it but find the war analogies to be a little over the top so far...
For example, "Making of the Atomic Bomb" was recommended to me, for examples of how on earth did the US manage to get a bunch of primadonna scientists to finish a megaproject on time (though this is not the main scope of the book) -- I haven't read it yet, but I would it put forward as a suggestion.
Feynman's shenanigans at Los Alamos are famous due to his memoirs, but at the time, he was not an important person, was he? Is it possible that peoples' viewpoints are distorted by this?
Also, the Apollo program seems more impressive and worth studying than the atomic bomb to me. Like, in one case, they produced unprecedentedly large explosions, and in the other, they did that and balanced people on top and got them to the moon and back.