Living by Committee
September 20, 2002

RANT #130: Apologies
Summary: It's clear that I am not capable of running my life. Someone has to.
Full Text:

The reason I have called you all here is that a certain critical situation has arisen that has precipitated a crisis. We are on the cusp of a great opportunity and a terrible risk and it seems appropriate that each of you be given first crack at working on the solution. In other words, we are at, what I hope will be the dawn of a new era of SNOWMIT.

As you all know, it is always darkest before the dawn.

Essentially, the problem boils down to this: I am not able to continue to run SNOWMIT single-handedly. There is no shame in this fact. No CEO has ever worked alone. Every great movie is the work of a team of highly skilled professionals. The great monuments were developed by veritable armies of labourers. Even simple novels come into being thanks to the efforts of a team of publishers, editors, printers and the author.

As you all know, I believe very strongly in the SNOWMIT brand. It has widespread consumer recognition across a surprising range of demographics. Typical associations (and I'm quoting, here, from our marketing research conducted late last year) include "fun-loving, caring, creative, hard working, intelligent, competent and crazy - but in a good way".

This is a strong legacy and I am proud of the work that I have done so far. But I can't help but think that I could have done better. If you look over the history of SNOWMIT with a critical eye, you find a long chain of good-luck, happenstance, coincidence and desperate improvisation. This is all well and good for a smallSNOWMITe operation, but if we want SNOWMIT to reach the full potential that I envision, then we need to look at rearranging and streamlining a lot of our current processes. Fate is fickle, and relying on luck has never been a good long-term growth strategy.

Therefore, effective immediately, I am announcing the creation of a new SNOWMIT committee (S.COM). This body will oversee all of the future operations of SNOWMIT. Its duties shall include: building a long term vision for the development of SNOWMIT, setting general policies and identifying opportunities for growth and change. I see this committee as comprising of between 9 and 15 members. I will begin the hiring process early next week. We will be looking for candidates who best typify the kinds of people that we want SNOWMIT to become mixed with people who typify who SNOWMIT has been. It is important that we not allow this group to become too homogeneous. To do so would be to risk being stuck with a very 1 dimensional SNOWMIT.

In addition S.COM, I am proposing that we select a specific candidate be responsible for the day to day operations of SNOWMIT (S.OP). The reason for this is that often SNOWMIT needs to make decisions at a speed that the format of S.COM would not allow (for example, 'should I kiss this girl?'). While it is true that most of these situations could be planned for in advance through carefully thought-out general policies, I am a firm believer in the maxim that one should expect the unexpected. Having a S.OP would give SNOWMIT the flexibility that we need to ensure that SNOWMIT would be able to navigate the vagaries of daily life. Of course, the holder of this position would need to be kept under constant review by S.COM.

While it is my intention to seek this position, I support the idea that it should be granted only after a period of open competition. There may well be a better S.OP waiting in the wings.

Finally, I would suggest that the future S.COM give serious consideration to streamlining its duties and the general duties required for SNOWMIT operation. There is no reason that a lot of the tasks that are currently done inhouse could not be outsourced in some manner. During my tenure as sole proprietor of SNOWMIT, I came across a number of issues that were continually sources of headaches (dare I say - needless headaches?).

Some typical problem areas include:
-Romantic entanglements and long term relationships. This was probably the hardest part of my job and the one that required the most effort, yet it continues to give disappointing results. While I am sure that, given enough restructuring, this situation could be reformed, it seems like it would be easier and faster to just hire an expert to handle these situations.
-Making difficult decisions. While there has been very little problem in getting SNOWMIT to enact difficult decisions once they've been made, SNOWMIT has continued to consistently take about two to three SNOWMITes longer than one would expect to reach that point. It may be that the creation of S.COM will solve this problem indirectly. If it doesn't, I'd look for a third-party solution.
-Physical development. While SNOWMIT is generally in good health, thanks to the fortunate accident of his genetic heritage, attempts to build on this strong foundation have generally fallen flat.
-Market research. This has long been an area of great frustration for me. I have expended a huge amount of effort in trying to find a effective means of gathering honest opinions about the performance of SNOWMIT but have met with failure after failure. In the end, this may just be the result of an inherent conflict of interest. I don't think that SNOWMIT is in a very good position to learn people's real attitudes about SNOWMIT.

Despite this long list of problems, I do not think that the future of SNOWMIT is in any serious risk. I have identified the problem, and I think that these solutions are steps on the road to great things. By leveraging the power of teamwork we can bring SNOWMIT to places that none of our competing brands have been or will be able to go.

Thank you, I wish the future S.COM and S.OP great success and great fortune. I hope that they can make SNOWMIT great again. Goodnight.

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