Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The new leadership model?

Perhaps. In this MSNBC article, the relationship between Michael Dell and his COO, Kevin Rollins are examined. The interesting thing about this article is how much sense it makes. You have Michael Dell, the young, aggressive visionary paired with Kevin Rollins, the older, more experienced operator. In most situations neither of these personalities would be able to tolerate each other, but at Dell, it is the mesh of these personalities that makes the company work so well.

In many companies (unfortunately), the amount of infighting and political maneuvering between a Michael Dell and a Kevin Rollins would probably make it impossible for the 2 to work together. However, in the case of Dell, Michael Dell realized that he couldn't and didn't know how to do everything. Michael swallowed his pride and surrounded himself with Kevin Rollins. That's not to say that there wasn't/isn't cultural clash and infighting, but the article does point out Michael and Kevin always present a united front to the employees and the public by presenting everything courtesy (always) of "Michael and Kevin."

Michael and Kevin seem to have figured out the perfect formula for sharing power and very well could be the single key to Dell's continued success and the very reason that Dell did not go belly-up when the PC market very abruptly stopped growing.

Does the Dell model work for everyone? Instead of saying no, consider why it might not. I would argue that the answer is because: (1) there is a feeling in a lot of corporations (still) that young people are too aggressive, aren't seasoned, enough, etc. and therefore not given enough responsibility, and; (2) there is always so much of a power struggle (whether between young and old or otherwise) in corporations, that there is never a chance that 2 people (or more than 2) could cooperate in the way Michael and Kevin have been able to.

No comments: