What do executives do?

Executives set culture, and that’s important enough.

An executive with 8,000 indirect reports and 2000 hours of work in a year can afford to spend, at most, 15 minutes per year per person in their reporting hierarchy… even if they work on nothing else. That job seems impossible. How can anyone make any important decision in a company that large? They will always be the least informed person in the room, no matter what the topic.

The good executive ensures that competing employees resolve issues for the good of the company. They eliminate bad actors, immediately – since bad actors create dangerous rot inside an organization.

Company values flow downward. They are very hard to change, and very painful. When you change your company values, you might find that employees who liked the old values don’t want to work there anymore, and rightly so. (This happens even if the new values are “better” in your favourite dimensions.)

You might wonder if this extends to governments. It does, but governments have limitations not possessed by corporations:

Governmental politics are bad exactly to the extent that we don’t enforce our values by firing the people who don’t encompass them. In a democracy, this is hard because values in the first place are agreed by mass consensus rather than chosen at the top. That’s why propaganda is so powerful: it changes our values, which changes who and what we tolerate.

Read the whole thing and bookmark it if you can.

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