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Decoding the IT Value Problem: An Executive Guide for Achieving Optimal ROI on Critical IT Investments by Gregory J. Fell

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CHAPTER 3

The Washington Principle

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

George Washington knew when to dive into the details of a problem and when to step back. IT governance is a process for making sure that the details are covered and thoroughly understood by all stakeholders. If Washington was alive today, I am certain that he would appreciate the need for good IT governance.

The Skills of a Leader

It's an understatement to say that George Washington was a great leader. He was an exceptional leader. He was also one of those rare individuals who can listen to the opinions of others without wavering from his true course.

In his role as commander-in-chief of the revolutionary army, Washington was surrounded by strong-willed, proud, and often egotistical men. Many of his subordinates were genuinely brilliant, and many of them had been successful entrepreneurs or seasoned soldiers before joining the revolutionary cause.

Washington's senior officers and advisors were self-confident, experienced, knowledgeable, and accustomed to getting their way. They truly believed that they knew what was best, and they weren't afraid the share their opinions.

To many, Washington's management style seemed mysterious and mortifying. He would listen with the courtesy of a gentleman. He refrained from indicating his agreement or disagreement. To some, he seemed removed or aloof. To others, he seemed the embodiment of patience.

Many of his officers believed that Washington had too much patience. Some perceived him ...

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