Creating value isn’t somethng this team had trouble with. I suspect that we made it look too easy. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that my fellow Directors believed anyone could do what my teams did.
I reported to one person – the Commanding Officer – no one in between. Two quotes from her might help to reveal the nature of that relationship. Both were delivered behind a closed door, and both were, to me, unforgettable.
The first came soon after her arrival (I had accepted the position a few years earlier):
“I don’t know what you do or how you do it, and I don’t want to know. Just keep us out of trouble and tell me what to say and when to say it. “Take me by the back of the head like this, and tell me when I should say yes or no. Do you understand?”
The second came at the end of our relationship a few years later – after the outsourcing issue I described above, and after I had accepted a new position with a higher level agency:
“Dave, we didn’t know what a CIO was or that we even needed one. You taught us stuff we didn’t know we didn’t know. You delivered above and beyond anything we could have imagined.”
She told me that she regretted how things had turned out, but the real impact of that decision wasn’t known to me until two years later. The command called me up and asked if I would help with the selection of a new CIO.
As evidenced by writing this post, I still think I could have or should have done something more – like brag more about the awesomeness (a GovLoop influenced word) of my staff and the value they created as a team. The focus and synergy of those professionals was unbelievable.
To say I was proud of them is an understatement. Had that Command really known the full extent of the value they created, or more importantly – what the Command would lose by breaking up that team, maybe they wouldn’t have made the decision they did.
It was my responsibility. I chose the level of communication – what to share or not to share. The outcome was ultimately my report card.