Susan Hires a Boss

One person in charge at a time

If you work at a company with more than two people, you’ve likely had a project that was SNOWED.

Jeremiah Owyang brought the term up in reference to websites that look and run like mush. SNOWED – Stakeholders’ Needs Overwhelm Web Experience Design. Basically a case of too many cooks. And you see it all over the web. And in print and in events and in customer service and in … .

There’s a severe lack of amazing to be found in what marketing produces and some of it is related to Jeremiah’s solution to the website issue.

The way I see it, if you want to get something done, if you want it to be amazing when it is done, you’ll only get there by having one person in charge at a time. One person whose job it is provide the vision and watch the critical path. One person who understands the true goal and can say no. One person who accepts the responsibility for blame or credit.

Sounds like leadership, huh?

Unfortunately, companies end up with one of two scenarios instead. Either projects are run by committee and no one steps up to lead and nothing gets done. Or someone is designated the leader and undermined at every step by the way by people who won’t let them be in charge and nothing amazing happens.

Do you want amazing? Put one person in charge. Be willing to be the person in charge. Take charge, take responsibility, take the blame, share the credit.


posted on Jun 4, 2009 under


Wesley Verhoeve said...

thank you! very much agreed

Rockhopper said...

Human nature usually gets in the way, and it takes "superpowers" to overcome the natural forces that occur in teams of any size (or consequence). Your recommendations are good ones - but any "leader" must be mindful of the inevitable backlash against group leadership.

In my 20+ years of working in and consulting to organizations, the most helpful tools & techniques I've learned to harness the creative potential of diverse groups were developed by Synectics...

Rock on!

Marketing Mama said...

That hit home for me today. I love it. And I love being in charge.

Allan said...

SNOWED - Should be more applicable to business in general.

Stakeholders' Needs Overwhelm Whole Enterprise/Experience Design.

lewister said...

@Allan - that's a great way to put it. I like having a term for this better than colossal disaster.

EG said...

'Twas ever thus. David Ogilvy once walked into a client's office to give a creative presentation (in the 1950s, I believe). He was ushered into a boardroom with a group of 12 men sitting around the table.
"Before I begin, gentlemen, who will be making the decision at the end of my presentation?"
"Why, we all will!" came the reply.
"In that case, gentlemen, this presentation is over." And with that he walked out of the room.

Here's a riddle to further back your point:
What is the definition of a camel?
A racehorse designed by a committee.